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Kurth said the county hopes to open the center by early 2023.

County officials believe the new center will pay big dividends when it comes to the challenge of behavioral health issues in the community.

“Psychiatric respite and stabilization is a huge gap in our current health and justice system services,” said Xan Augerot, Chairman of the Council of Commissioners. “Given the lack of capacity, the Good Samaritan emergency department is easily overwhelmed with people who voluntarily seek services and those who are held against their will, formally assessed as posing a risk to themselves or to others.

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“Many of these people (and their families) would benefit from treatment in a less restrictive and more therapeutic environment.”

The county plans to start with around 10 beds but hopes to expand to 16, Augerot said, and the facility will include services such as “short-term therapy and vocational training, liaison with treatment services, connection to social services, access to medicines. support services and engagement with primary care providers.

Dannielle Brown, county director of behavioral health, estimated 12 to 15 new staff would be needed to fill the center “to capacity.”

“This will be a ‘no-wrong-go’ approach,” said Brown, “and (it) will allow individuals to have a safe place to meet their needs more immediately than in our current continuum of care.”

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