Howell County News/ Amanda Mendez

Crisis Stabilization Center an "asset" to community

Dozens of community, business, and law enforcement leaders attended a ribbon cutting for Ozarks Healthcare's Crisis Stabilization Center Friday morning. 
"[The large community presence] tells me that the need is great, but that also we have the community backing us. If we have a need, the community is there to support us," commented Nichole Cook CFO and VP of Finance at OHZ.
Ozarks Healthcare's Crisis Stabilization Center is operated by its Behavioral Health Center (BHC) and is a medically monitored program funded by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) that provides an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization, according to a release from OHZ.
The Crisis Stabilization Center provides services including: psychosocial assessment, psychiatric evaluation and medical services, crisis intervention and brief therapy, peer support, case management and referral services, such as Medicaid applications, community resources, employment application assistance, housing application assistance, transportation assistance, and referrals for physical and mental health. 
Anyone in a mental health crisis who requires stabilization either through brief therapy techniques, medication management, or both, adults who have case management needs, including assistance to accessing sheltered housing, or adults who are currently abusing substances and require urgent assistance in accessing inpatient substance abuse facilities are considered eligible of the Crisis Stabilization Center's services. 
State Representative David Evans gave an address highlighting the local need for interventional mental health services. He called the Crisis Stabilization Center, "one of the most important things this community needs."
"I'm glad my law enforcement buddies are here because the same crisis situations for those suffering from mental health issues, it is quite common that first on the scene are [the police]," remarked Evans, a former longtime Howell County Circuit Court Judge. "Many of these people in crisis enter the criminal justice system as a result of their actions. We don't have the training and expertise and for a very long time, I thought that we needed this type of crisis intervention. We're not mental health professionals. We can't give these folks what they truly, really need. Putting them in jail is not the answer. Let's get them help. Let's get them back in society and back to their loved ones. I think it will make a big difference in our community. This is what these families have been hoping and praying for, and I think the rest of us have as well."
Evans invited Howell County Sheriff Brent Campbell to make a few remarks. 
"It is an absolute necessity in the area. We see more and more mental health issues arise that tie us up. It's great to see this come about," Sheriff Campbell said.
Though plans are in place for the Crisis Stabilization Center to serve as a 24-hour model, its hours are currently 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., seven days a week.  
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