An Idaho Department of Health and Welfare official said he expects a mental health crisis center to open its doors in Coeur d’Alene within six months.
“Everyone involved would like to see this happen as quickly as possible. The need is there in the community,” said Ross Edmunds, the department’s behavioral health administrator.
The 24-hour crisis center would serve people experiencing acute episodes related to mental illness or addiction. At the moment, many of those individuals end up in emergency rooms or jail, Edmunds said.
Crisis center staff will provide a mental health assessment and medical screening, and refer patients to follow-up services. At a similar crisis center in Idaho Falls, the average stay at the facility is eight to nine hours.
A coalition of law enforcement and local health officials have been advocating for the crisis center for years. This year, the Idaho Legislature appropriated $1.72 million for a North Idaho center.
The state will contract with a local health provider to operate the crisis center. Edmunds said Kootenai Health is the likely candidate, though the hospital issued a statement saying it wasn’t ready to comment.
Kootenai Health has been working closely with Heritage Health, the Panhandle Health District and others on the crisis center. A survey earlier this year listed mental health as one of the top public health concerns in Idaho’s 10 northern counties.
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