Five Crisis Stabilization Facilities Now Open Across Wisconsin

Regional centers will serve those with mental health and substance use needs.

Five Crisis Stabilization Facilities Now Open Across Wisconsin

Wisconsin has taken another step forward to help people with mental health and substance use emergencies with the opening of five crisis stabilization centers for adults. Crisis stabilization facilities support people who can't stay in their community safely, but don't need to be hospitalized. Funded by the Department of Health Services (DHS), the centers provide a dedicated location for this level of care for most counties.

The five facilities service separate regions or groups of counties:

"Whether it's been declaring 2023 the Year of Mental Health, securing new investments for school-based mental health and other initiatives, or supporting the launch of the state's 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline contact center, we've been working to find solutions to the burgeoning mental health crisis facing our state since 2019," said Gov. Tony Evers. "This includes bolstering our state's crisis care infrastructure so that folks can access the care and support they need when and where they need it—especially in an emergency. While the opening of these new facilities is a tremendous step forward, we know there's far more to do, and we're committed to building on these efforts to ensure every Wisconsinite has access to mental and behavioral health care regardless of their ZIP code."

"The need for services for people experiencing mental health and substance use emergencies has been rising steadily over the past several years," said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. "Our investment in these five crisis stabilization facilities for adults is a commitment to ensuring the right care is available at the right time in the right place for all state residents who need help."

DHS set aside $10 million in 2021 to support the development of five crisis stabilization facilities for adults, with each location serving multiple counties. The funding is part of Wisconsin's share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds reserved for mental health and substance use services. Today's announcement represents the work of four providers who each received a share of the funding in 2022 to establish these home-like centers. The services areas are based on partnerships the providers have set up with county agencies providing mental health and substance use services.

People can access these centers by referral through the mental health and substance use emergency hotline for their county of residence. These hotlines are known as county crisis lines.

Crisis stabilization facilities are staffed 24/7 by professionals who provide individual counseling, group therapy, medication evaluation and management, and skill-building activities to enhance a patient's coping strategies and overall well-being. Patients also receive support from people who have experienced similar challenges who are trained to help others on their paths to wellness. Stays range from one day to seven days or more depending on a patient's health and safety needs. The patient is also connected to community services to ensure they continue to receive the support they need after their stay.

This is a voluntary level of care. Patients agree to be admitted and work actively with the service providers to develop their care plans.

Three crisis stabilization facilities for youth in Jefferson, Milwaukee, and Wausau provider similar services for young people statewide.

During his 2023 State of the State address, Gov. Evers declared 2023 the Year of Mental Health, calling mental and behavioral health a “burgeoning crisis” affecting the state and Wisconsin’s kids, families, and workforce. Since then, Gov. Evers has doubled his efforts to make meaningful investments to address the state’s mental health crisis. In addition to the $10 million in ARPA funds that went toward opening these five crisis stabilization centers, the 2023-25 budget signed by Gov. Evers provided $10 million over the biennium in the Joint Committee on Finance’s (JFC) supplemental appropriation fund to establish two crisis urgent care and observation centers. And earlier this year, Gov. Evers signed Senate Bill 462, now Wisconsin Act 249, which builds upon this work in the 2023-25 budget by establishing a certification process for crisis urgent care and observation facilities and a grant program to develop and support these new facilities utilizing the $10 million allocated in the 2023-25 budget. Based on similar frameworks Gov. Evers proposed as part of all three of his executive budget proposals and on DHS’s proposals for these five crisis stabilization facilities, Act 249 will introduce additional points of contact and service for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, allowing them to be treated in the community and closer to their support systems and home. Additionally, adding new centers will help reduce the amount of time law enforcement and first responders currently must dedicate to emergency detention cases by offering a dedicated first responder drop-off location that accepts custody of emergency detention cases and does not require that medical clearances be completed before drop-off.

The DHS "Crisis Now" initiative is focused on ensuring all Wisconsinites have someone to contact, someone to respond, and a safe place to go for help during times of distress. Someone to call includes the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and the county crisis lines. Someone to respond includes professionals who meet the person experiencing a mental health or substance use emergency in the community where they are located like their home, school, or workplace. A safe place to get help includes crisis urgent care and observation facilities, which are being developed, and crisis stabilization facilities. DHS continues to work year-round to ensure quality, culturally appropriate mental health services are accessible and affordable throughout Wisconsin.

People experiencing mental health and substance use emergencies should call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for help from a trained counselor. If the situation is life threatening, they should call 911.

Last Update: Jun 05, 2024 11:31 am CDT

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