TUSCALOOSA Ala. (WBRC) – Alabama has six behavioral health crisis centers spread across the state.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Mental Health announced the awarding of funding to Indian Rivers Behavioral Health in Tuscaloosa (formerly Indian Rivers Mental Health Center) to establish a regional behavioral health crisis diversion center.
The new crisis center, which will serve communities in West Alabama, will have an annual operating budget of approximately $6.0 million and a workforce of 75 employees.
The center will be open 24/7 to the general public, law enforcement, and emergency management personnel to serve those who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
Individuals presenting to the Crisis Center will be screened and could receive the following services:
- Supportive conversation with a peer specialist
- Referral to community services
- Admission to a 23-hour observation unit
- Admission to a short-stay, behavioral health inpatient unit. In addition, the center will provide 24/7 remote, telehealth support to individuals and emergency personnel at the site of an event.
According to Mental Health America, Alabama ranks 8th highest for the prevalence of mental illness in the U.S.
Local clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow said it’s promising the state is taking steps to build access to care.
“Even before COVID but particularly with the pandemic the amount of isolation, the increase in the need for mental health services- so having a system for when people are in crisis, number one. Number two, when first responders can do the warm hand-off as well as individuals walking in, that’s the kind of care we need in this state,” Klapow said.
Indian Rivers Executive Director, Randy Phillips, stated “we are very grateful to Governor Kay Ivey and the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Kim Boswell, for awarding this center to Indian Rivers to serve the citizens of West Alabama. This crisis center will be a significant addition to the behavioral health continuum of care that already exists in our communities, and will enhance the coordination of care for those needing behavioral health care services.”
Phillips stated development of the center will begin immediately with the goal of providing services by the spring of 2023.
The Indian Rivers Behavioral Health Crisis Center becomes one of six such behavioral health crisis centers being developed in Alabama.
Spectracare health systems in Houston County was also awarded a grant.
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