ROCHESTER, Minn. - Between 2007 and 2014, Minnesota hospitals experienced a 49-percent increase in people seeking mental health and substance abuse services in the emergency room.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, reports many emergency rooms are not equipped to address such cases. Also, in Olmsted County and the surrounding areas, it can take a person with mental illness up to three months to get the help they need. A new facility in Rochester is poised to change mental health services in Southeast Minnesota.
The Mental Health Crisis Center will have 16 beds and be equipped to give those with mental health issues access to immediate care.
Paul Fleissner is responsible for overseeing health, housing, and human services divisions in Olmsted County.
He is one of the many people that have fought to address mental illness in Minnesota. For him, he says it's personal.
"One of the things that I will tell you is that I'm not only in this role at the county but am the guardian for my older brother who has mental health needs,” Flessiner said. When he was suicidal in the past 18 months he was sent to North Dakota.
He says this is because there is a month-long wait to see a healthcare provider and not enough beds in the state.
This facility is a step forward in getting people the help they desperately need.
Sean Kinsella works for NAMI. He says this facility is will help bridge the gap which is imperative to address mental health head-on.
"It will bring all the mental health care providers together, this includes psychiatric, psychological, social workers, peer support specialist, advocates,” Kinsella said. All will be in one location to help support people 24/7 around the clock."
"To me, the crisis center is going to be a new front door,” Fleissner said. “Instead of the front door being our jails, juvenile detention center, and our emergency department our front door is going to be the crisis center."
The 5 million dollar facility is projected to be completed in April of 2021.