After seven years as a production planner at Canon, Jessica Adams wanted a change. At 33, she went back to school and earned her nursing degree, and didn’t stop there. Adams knew when she graduated that she wanted to take her education further, but hadn’t yet selected a specialty. “I was led into [it],” she says, adding, “I ended up taking a really good job and found that I liked psychiatry.”
So, Adams went back to school in 2004 and, 11 years after leaving her previous career and becoming a nurse, she graduated from nurse practitioner school in 2007. The gap between her undergraduate and graduate degrees can be attributed to the fact that, in addition to starting a new career, she was busy becoming a mother to her small children. She explains, “Between 1996 and 2004, I was running the children to basketball and cheerleading and dance.” Nevertheless, Adams did work her way to the level of nurse practitioner — a level at which, with collaborating physicians and no small amount of effort, she was able to begin her own practice, Coastal Medical and Psychiatric Services Inc. (CMPS).
Adams, after working for other practices, opened CMPS to the public in 2015, making it the first nurse practitioner-owned medical practice on the Virginia Peninsula. At the time, the practice consisted of only herself and her daughter. It has grown, now involving 28 people and a larger office.
The practice currently serves patients ages two and up across a wide area between Richmond and Virginia Beach. “We should probably be designated as an underserved area,” says Adams, speaking about the small number of practices between the state capital and the Southside.
She adds, “Patients come to me from as far away as the Northern Neck.”
Adams’ clients are from all walks of life, showing that some of the stigma around mental health and psychiatric care has abated over time. However, unfortunately, according to Adams, that stigma isn’t gone entirely. Sadly, recounts Adams, the people for whom the stigma is preventative are often “the ones who need it most.”
That stigma persists partly because of the nature of psychiatric care, which doesn’t give people the concrete answers they expect and want. “If you have a blood disorder, you can take a blood test. But there is no blood test for mental health treatment,” says Adams.
Another mental roadblock to seeking treatment, for some people, is the fear that mental healthcare is not affordable, but most people have more access than they realize. “Almost every plan, either private or government insurance, will cover mental healthcare, and some so much so that they’ll cover novel treatments such as nasal esketamine and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation,” says Adams.
The treatments offered by Adams and her staff are not radical or experimental, just unique. They are FDA approved and the caregivers at CMPS have the requisite education and experience to practice them. According to Adams, “We’ve tried to open a wide enough gap to where we have therapy services and medication services for just about every corner of the population.”
Though Adams expends a great deal of time and energy to ensure such care is available to Peninsula residents, she does leave time for herself. She enjoys active recreation including skiing, horseback riding and, especially, spending time at her house on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Adams was born in St. Thomas, moved to Hampton after elementary school and has only recently felt a pull to return. “I didn’t expect to go back and fall in love with the Virgin Islands again, but I did. So, a few years ago I bought property there and built a house.” That house is where Adams goes to recharge, where she enjoys snorkeling, hiking and reading.
TO THE POINT:
Coastal Medical and Psychiatric Services, Inc.
Address: 825 Diligence Dr., Ste. 206 & 100-B, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Jessica Adams, owner