New Montgomery County mental health crisis center set to open in early summer
A new mental health and substance abuse crisis center will open in Montgomery County. Recovery Innovations International’s new facility at the former St. Elizabeth Hospital campus will offer crisis, outpatient, housing and community resources.
When police receive a call for a mental health or substance abuse crisis, they usually take the person to either a hospital emergency room or jail.
But Janel Lieber, the site director at the Recovery Innovations center, said someone who’s in crisis might not be able to get the help they need there. She adds the 24/7 crisis center is a solution for that.
“Police officers will be able to drop anyone off here, voluntary or involuntary. And we will provide 23 hour crisis services for them, and then they can receive counseling services here. They can maybe get medications here,” Liber said. “So this place is a place where someone is in crisis. They're going to come to us and we're going to help them figure out how to get past it.”
The idea is patients will come for just under 23 hours while workers at the center stabilize them in a “living room-style” facility that feels more like a home. The patients can come in, eat a meal, shower and receive help. Workers at the facility will then work on connecting the patient to long-term aid like a sober living facility or mental health counseling.
Montgomery County Commissioner Carolyn Rice said the center provides a much needed service. Last year, the Montgomery County crisis hotline received over 12,000 calls.
“During the pandemic, we saw a 26% increase in behavioral health issues. Last year we saw an increase in the number of people in all age groups who had serious thoughts of suicide. We also saw overdose deaths on the rise, this is unacceptable, Rice said. “Law enforcement can now take our citizens who are struggling with such a crisis directly here for treatment, not to our jails.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, said he’s been calling for a stronger mental health support system in the state. He added he’s preparing to earmark money for mental health services in the state's next budget.
“One is how we frankly get more workers, more people to go into the mental health field. We have some support there for that,” DeWine said “Research, we still need to do more research in the whole area of mental health. These are all things that we have additional funds in this budget.”
The facility will be the third piece of the county’s mental health system. The city of Dayton recently received a $1.4 million grant from Ohio Criminal Justice Services, to create a new crisis response team. There’s also the Montgomery County crisis hotline (833-580-2255). The facility is expected to open by early summer.
Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.