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County chooses provider for crisis assessment program

by on August 01, 2019 9:41 AM

BELLEFONTE — Centre County is a step closer to having a place for people to turn to in case of a mental health crisis as the county commissioners agreed to add a contract with Centre for Community Resources to the Aug. 13 board meeting consent agenda for such a program.

The contract for $694,981 covers the cost of setting up and running the Crisis Assessment Services program during this fiscal year, including the money needed to find a location, said county Director of Mental Health/ Intellectual Disability/Early Intervention Natalie Corman.

The county received three bids for the service. When the plan for the center was first conceived, the county had hoped to include a residential aspect to the program to provide short-term shelter for people in crisis, but received no bids from providers for that service.

The county dropped the residential aspect of the program and is now planning to provide a center for people in medical crisis to turn to when they need help finding resources to get them through their issue. The facility is proposed to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

CCR has a history of providing this service in other counties around the state.

People in crisis can come to the program from many different avenues, but always on their own free will, said Corman, when the program was discussed at the June 25 board meeting.

“We really look at this as a number of different entry points, kind of a no-wrong-door opportunity. So law enforcement, when they are engaging with an individual, can have them walk in the door, the individual themselves, a provider, the schools, if they think they have someone who needs assessed, all those people can walk someone in. They have several assessment tools they discussed on what they will do. A lot of it is really being able to provide that immediate opportunity to discuss what their crisis is and figure out what exactly we can provide for them for immediate resources. Whether that is hospitalization if they want it, whether that is just having someone to talk to face-to-face, whether that is being linked to services for the first time, it is a variety of different options. It is all voluntary. It is not hospitalization. It is not a residential program as we had previously put out there. It is really the opportunity to go there and get the immediate assistance for a non-medical need. It doesn’t take away from what the ER does. But it addresses that crisis and gets them to the next opportunity,” said Corman.


Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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