New Mental Illness Crisis Treatment Center opens in Nashville (2023)

When Bonnie Kelly is in a crisis, she hears voices.

The delusions of her bipolar disorder can confuse her. This can cause you to behave neurotically.

Nearly two decades ago, there were incidents where their behavior led to arrests for disorderly conduct and assault. He spent time in prison.

Now that he is turning 65 and celebrating the birth of a grandchild, he still bears the burden of those arrests, even as he comes to terms with his mental illness.

"It makes me look like a monster," she says.

Tennessee caregivers, police and state officials all agreed: when it comes to mental illness,Prison is not always the best option..

New Mental Illness Crisis Treatment Center opens in Nashville (1)

The city is taking active steps to help people who suffer from mental health disorders move away from the criminal justice system and into community treatment and support.

This week, officials will celebrate one of those resolutions with the opening of the new crisis treatment center run by MetroCenter, managed by Cooperativa de Saúde Mental.

On Saturday, the 24-hour crisis center will go into full operation.

Nashville's new mental health emergency room

Experts refer to the new building as Nashville's Mental Health ER, which brings together a variety of mental health services under one roof.

Esteem-I know thatMore than 1 million Tennessee people age 18 and older have a mental illness or substance use disorder, and at least a quarter of them have a serious mental illness.

New Mental Illness Crisis Treatment Center opens in Nashville (2)

To serve this population, the new facility will house a Crisis Center, Crisis Stabilization Unit and Crisis Response Unit. It will also serve as the seat of Davidson County.Mobile Crisis Response Team.

The aim is to connect people with urgent mental illnesses so they can help faster, especially when they come into contact with the police.

"It's really important to get to a place where you can get help," says Kelly. "It means everything. It's good, patient-friendly care rather than just getting you out of the way."

(Video) City of Columbus opens first mental health center for officers, firefighters

Police can take hours to respond to calls related to mental illness

Police spend at least 5,000 hours a year, or two to three full-time officers, helping someone in a crisis.

This could be a suicide attempt, disorderly behavior by someone who might not be taking their medication, or someone who might create a more immediate danger.

As the police have to stay with the person in crisis until they have a safe place to transfer them, it can sometimes take all day to transport someone from the reserve to a psychiatric clinic.

This can put valuable resources at risk.

That's why city precinct commanders see the Crisis Handling Center, which is a 24-hour secure facility, as such an important addition.

New Mental Illness Crisis Treatment Center opens in Nashville (3)

The aim is to reduce police arrival time to just 10 minutes, so they can get back on the road quickly to respond to more calls, while speeding up the response to people in crisis.

"As a city, we recognized the need and invested in it," said East District Commander David Imhof. "We are helping a population that had no voice in the past."

Open to anyone needing crisis support

The facility is not just a point of contact for people in police custody; It's for anyone who has a mental health emergency.

People struggling with mental disorders and addictions often end up in the emergency room, where it can take hours or even days to find vacant beds in hospital psychiatric wards or other care facilities.

This leaves them waiting on gurneys in hallways or in small rooms devoid of their belongings. For those in a crisis situation, this can be a setback and increase anxiety.

However, connecting patients to care outside the hospital can also be challenging due to a shortage of psychiatric therapists, lack of insurance coverage, and federal privacy laws that prevent hospital staff from confirming that patients have access to follow-up care.

Smaller than60 percent of patients were discharged from one of four psychiatric hospitals in the countrybe successfully connected to any form of post-discharge care.

The new crisis treatment center aims to address immediate needs. The facility is open to anyone coming in or out looking for help.

Ortreating patients regardless of their insurance status.

(Video) MHC Crisis Treatment Center Grand Opening

"More than half of the people we serve today are uninsured," said Amanda Bracht, senior vice president of clinical services for the Mental Health Co-Op. "If they need to see a psychiatrist or a nurse and they need an assessment, they have that ability every day."

The Pre-Arrest Diversion Program Grant provided most of the funding for the project.

Located on the Metro Center Mental Health Cooperative campus, the building is connected to an existing facility that houses beds for those voluntarily seeking treatment.

Funding for the Crisis Treatment Center project came from a $2.6 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as part of a statewide pre-prison program.

The City of Nashville contributed an additional $427,537 and the Mental Health Cooperative contributed an additional $900,000.

The funding covered not only the construction of the building, which quadrupled the area of ​​the cooperative's previous premises, but also the cost of additional staff. The organization was able to hire an additional 20 full-time staff, which it says is critical to more quickly meeting the community's growing crisis needs.

There will be 20 beds in the unit.

"A sort of general philosophy is to let everybody do what they do best," says Adam Graham, director of emergency psychiatric services at the Mental Health Co-op. they are not designed for that.

“The police assist and protect on the street. That's what they do best. We want them to do that and not in emergencies or hanging out with us.

“What we are doing is helping to solve the psychiatric crisis. If we bring that in here, then all three systems are doing what they do best.”

How the new crisis center will help

There are several ways people can ask for help at the Mental Health Cooperative's new crisis treatment center.

The first is to enter alone or with the help of a friend or loved one.

Another is left by a police officer.

Those brought into the center by the police will enter through a special security entrance at the back of the building. There will be a separate reception area and padded security areas, if necessary, for those likely to cause harm.

New Mental Illness Crisis Treatment Center opens in Nashville (4)

The secure design no longer requires the police to stay with the patient. "This will significantly reduce the wait time," said Amanda Bracht, senior vice president of clinical services at the Mental Health Co-Op.

(Video) Mental Health Crisis and Treatment

“Helps with public safety. We can put these officers back on the streets and take over psychiatric care.”

Once inside, patients enter through the main entrance and check in in a small lobby. The waiting room is particularly small because the expected length of stay for patients will be short.

New Mental Illness Crisis Treatment Center opens in Nashville (5)

They will then visit a small reception room where their belongings will be searched and stored and a member of the nursing staff will tell the patient what to expect.

From there, they enter one of the two largest rooms in the building, one for patients with acute and involuntary admissions and another main care unit for those who come alone.

Each room has large, comfortable chairs, a television, and plenty of space to roam around. Nurses, crisis counselors and treatment specialists serve people.

“What helps someone when it really starts?” Graham asks. "Give them lots of space."

Small private rooms surround the open areas for therapy sessions, individual exams or those seeking tranquility.

Building a command center brings all caregivers together in one place to monitor and support those seeking help

In the center of the building, a "command center" features windows overlooking all other treatment areas.

This central area of ​​human resources not only allows for better communication between caregivers (with therapists, nurses and doctors sitting next to each other), but also allows all staff to keep an eye on patients and act quickly when needed.

Some patients may arrive with symptoms so acute that they may need to be transferred to a nearby hospital or psychiatric facility for more intensive treatment.

But even in these cases, they no longer have to sit alone for hours waiting for a bed to be opened.

"Instead of just sitting in a room where nothing is really happening, they'll be in a treatment setting and talking to nurses, doctors and specialists to start treatment right away," says Graham.

"We might even find out where they don't have to go to the hospital."

In addition to adult care, the new crisis treatment center provides support for children. There is a separate entrance and therapy area for children under 18.

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"Anything I need will be here at the Mental Health Coop instead of going to the hospital," says Kelly. "I feel like I have a better chance of doing better here."

Contact Jessica Bliss at 615259-8253 and or on Twitter @jlbliss.

Do you need support in a crisis?

The new crisis treatment center will open on Saturday. They are a 24/7 resource for mental health emergencies.

The center is located at 250 Cumberland Bend Drive in Nashville.

Immediate assistance is also available through Tennessee's Mobile Crisis Services. If you need assistance, call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471) and they will refer you to an expert trained in your area.

Are hereThree Ways to Help a Loved One in Crisis.

The Crisis Treatment Center is just one of several new mental health facilities

The building is just one of several new mental health resource centers opening in Nashville over the next two years.

Saint Thomas Health is planning a new 76-bed behavioral health treatment center, also in the Metro Center area of ​​Nashville, in hopes of reducing overcrowding in emergency rooms, where patients face long waits for psychiatric treatment.

The Nashville hospital chain expects the $32 million facility to open in early 2020.

also theThe Davidson County Sheriff's Department is building its own 64-bed prison diversion center downtownas part of the new criminal justice center.

It is designed for people in mental crisis who need to be arrested.

Most people in this situation already have a warrant out for their arrest, usually for non-appearance, which means a police officer must arrest that person.

The behavioral health center would give police the ability to provide detainees with mental health treatment rather than charging them.

About 30% of the 37,500 people incarcerated annually struggle with mental illness, Sheriff Daron Hall said. Money normally used to house these people in a detention center will be used to house them in the new care center.

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