If all goes as planned, next month will see the grand opening of a groundbreaking, patient-focused facility designed for people in mental health and addictions emergencies.
On Monday, the Columbus City Council will be asked to rezone the land for the $59 million Franklin County Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Center on Franklin County-run Harmon Avenue, Franklin County Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health Commission and the Ohio Central Hospital Board.
More than $57 million has been raised for the project from sources including ADAMH, Franklin County, the city, state and the American Rescue Plan.
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Officials estimate that the operating budget will be $26 million per year.
ADAMH plans to contribute about $10 million a year to cover the expenses of those without insurance. Officials hope the center will eventually be recognized as a qualified entity for Medicaid eligibility, which would bring ADAMH’s contribution down to about $5 million.
Why is the center necessary?
Ranked 38th in the nation, Ohio is among states where adults have a higher prevalence of mental illnesses and lower rates of access to care, according to Mental Health Americaa non-profit organization that focuses on mental illness and mental health.
Authorities estimate that 21% of Franklin County’s 1.3 million residents have a mental health emergency each year. About 10% abuse or are dependent on drugs or alcohol.
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Officials say about 30,000 mental health episodes are treated each year in Franklin County, 21,800 of which included a visit to a hospital emergency room.
“We think we’re building something that can be the first favorite destination,” said ADAMH’s chief operating officer. Jonathan Thomas, the head of the crisis center project team, told members of our editorial board. “The more we can get the community to fully understand that this is a warm, welcoming, safe and appropriate place to go – they will go there instead of going to the emergency services which are inundated with many Other problems.”
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The facility will help de-stigmatize mental illness, reduce emergency room load and fill a gap in the community’s crisis care continuum.
“We want to make sure that every Franklin County resident has someone to call, someone to come, and somewhere to go in the event of a psychiatric emergency,” the ADAMH CEO said. Erika Clark Jones tell us.
Someone to call and someone to come
“The person to call” Jones is referring to the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline launched in Ohio in July.
“The Someone to Come” is being deepened.
ADAMH is developing a mobile response team program that would allow mental health professionals to respond to certain crisis calls without the police.
The Columbus Mobile Crisis Response Unit pairs mental health and addictions clinicians with a police officer trained in crisis response.
The city recently expanded the hours of its Right Response Unit pilot program, which includes a 911 dispatcher, a Columbus Public Health social worker and a paramedic from the city’s fire division to see if they can fit. to an answer that excludes the police.
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Somewhere to go
Designed with input from families and patients, the Franklin County Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Center—the first of its kind in the state—represents a giant leap forward in “somewhere to go.“
Due to demand for the 17 isolated rooms at Netcare Access, Franklin County’s premier crisis response and assessment center, Meg GriffinADAMH’s senior director of vendor relations, said many of those who experience mental health or addiction emergencies end up in the emergency room or in jail.
The Franklin County Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Center will provide a stark contrast.
“Each unit has a room for someone to go quietly, and there are also multi-purpose rooms. Someone could lead art exercises there.” Griffing, who is involved in the design of the facility, said. “Giving people autonomy – I just need to be alone and have this moment rather than being with other people.”
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The 24-hour, home-from-home center, which will be operated by RI International, a company that provides mental health and addictions services nationwide, including the new Crisis Now Welcome Center in Montgomery County.
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Scheduled to open in 2025, the center will have outdoor spaces for staff and patients and will serve anyone 18 or older, regardless of immigration status, insurance or residency.
The facility will include space for outpatient mental health and social service providers, family services, emergency care, pharmacy services and medical support for substance use disorders and addictions recovery .
There will be care available for those not in crisis, 23 hour voluntary and involuntary observation for those in immediate crisis and 16 beds for those who need to stay 24 hours or more.
A host of champions
In addition to public funds, a list of philanthropic supporters including Osteopathy, the Robert F. Wolfe and Edar T. Wolfe Foundations, Nationwide, American Electric Power, and CareSource have contributed more than $8 million to the project.
Jeff Klingerthe CEO of the Central Ohio Hospital Council, said the project has had a host of champions at all levels of government since it was designed eight years ago.
“Democrat. Republican. A lot of people were just very supportive. ‘How can we help? What more do you need to make this happen?'” he said. “We are at the stadium now it’s real.”
People in mental health or addiction crisis deserve care in a warm, welcoming, safe and appropriate square.
We think they’ll find it at the Franklin County Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Center.
Healing and hope will be found there.
This article was written by Amelia Robinson, Editor-in-Chief of Dispatch Opinion, on behalf of The Dispatch Editorial Board. Editorials are our Board’s factual assessment of issues important to the communities we serve. These are not the opinions of our reporting staff, who strive to be neutral in their reporting.