Mental health access expands in Jefferson County following ribbon cutting on state’s fourth crisis care center

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:06 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - On Tuesday, Jan. 24, state and local leaders helped cut the ribbon at the Craig Crisis Care Center in Birmingham. This is the fourth crisis center to open in the state, offering proper care for mental health and substance use disorders.

Commissioner Kimberly Boswell with the Alabama Department of Mental Health says there are three components to the center. Screening and assessment, observation and crisis stabilization. The center will have 32 temporary beds and 16 extended stay beds. Following their stay, they will be connected with community partners to continue their care.

“We always want to intervene early in the illness so that people can get access to care and get into recovery a lot sooner and live a life of recovery a lot sooner,” said Boswell.

Prior to having a crisis center, police who responded to calls would either take those experiencing an emergency to the ER or the jail. Now they will take them to the crisis center. Sheriff Mark Pettway says his deputies are going through training for when they receive those calls.

“So were training our deputies right now how to identify someone going through a crisis, how to de-escalate the situation and get them to a place like the crisis care center to get them the help they need,” said Pettway.

The center anticipates to open by mid-February. A center in Tuscaloosa and one in Dothan are set to open this March.

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