May is National Mental Health Month, and it’s focused on raising awareness about eliminating the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
Our nation is facing a widespread mental health crisis, and Northern Nevada is one of the hardest hit areas. In a recent Community Health Needs Assessment performed by Carson Tahoe Health, mental health and substance use were identified as the region’s top concerns. Not surprisingly, it’s also the top diagnosis for emergency room patients.
Mental illness is very real, and it affects everyone. At Carson Tahoe Health we believe the mental health of our community is critical, which is why for many years we have provided multiple programs to serve as a safety net for our region.
Two years ago, Carson Tahoe was approached by state and local officials regarding assistance in expediting treatment for mental health patients in crisis. Patients experiencing a psychiatric crisis had limited treatment options. Most ended up in the emergency department or jail. Many were kept in the emergency room on psychiatric hold for up to six days until a bed was available in a treatment facility.
Through collaborative efforts with local public safety officials, we identified the need for increased access to immediate, appropriate mental health and substance use treatment. In response, Carson Tahoe established a crisis center to act as an alternative to the emergency room and jail.
Thanks to a generous $350,000 donation by the Mallory Foundation, the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center opened in January of 2017.
“The Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center has created a most positive change in the way we approach behavioral health calls,” said Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong. “This unit has given officers options that were not readily available in the past.”
This innovative center is one of the first of its kind in the nation, and it’s designed to help alleviate congestion in the emergency room and jail. At the same time, the crisis center provides mental health services to patients who do not require emergency medical treatment. Whether brought in by law enforcement, transferred from another facility, or self-referred, patients at the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center receive immediate access to a psychiatrist and nursing care. Patients admitted to the crisis center stay for 24 hours or less, and also have access to social workers that help with discharge planning and one-on-one therapy.
By improving the care for patients with psychiatric or substance use needs, the crisis center frees up space in the emergency department. This improves the wait time for the most critically ill and injured. Individuals who are experiencing mental health issues, such as major depression, suicidal thoughts, or those who are having a substance use crisis go directly to the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center to get the help they need right away in a safe and easily accessible environment.
In terms of delivering direct help and a path forward, the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center is gaining national recognition for its pioneering, effective approach. Most of all it gives Carson City and surrounding communities an accessible, effective treatment option for those in need of immediate mental health services.
Located at 775 Fleischmann Way in Carson City, the CTH Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center is easily accessible by first responders and also is available and private enough for walk-in patients.
For information, visit us online, or contact us at 775-445-8889.