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New mental health emergency center sought for Milwaukee County residents

Posted at 7:55 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 08:55:59-05

The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD), along with four local health systems — Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension Wisconsin, Children's Wisconsin, and Froedert Health, entered a letter of intent to develop a joint venture mental health emergency center for Milwaukee County.

This comes as a shared effort to redesign the county-wide mental health delivery system.

“We’re no longer looking at only public or only private solutions to help those suffering from mental illness,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “The beauty of this new center is that it’s creating a first-of-its-kind partnership between BHD and our community health systems that offers an overarching continuum of care. On their worst possible day, those in need can come to the mental health emergency center to get help in a humane way. It will be a community place of healing where residents will get the care and love that they deserve.”

The next move for the new center will be for approvals in February of 2021. If approval goes according to plan, detailed design and construction are expected to begin in 2021, with the full operation goal by the spring of 2022.

The new mental health emergency center would provide stabilization and emergency treatments for children and adults experiencing a mental health crisis.

“For nearly a decade, BHD has been transforming to become a best practice model of care, in partnership with advocates and consumers, health systems, community health centers, and other community-based organizations,” said BHD Administrator Michael Lappen. “This new center will be an integral component of an improved crisis delivery system, intended to serve all patients regardless of the severity of their illness or ability to pay. The emergency center will be part of the continuum of new and planned crisis services including expanded mobile, residential, peer support and outpatient services.”

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