The new Behavioral Health Access and Crisis Center at St. Mary’s Hospital has served 1,200 patients in the six months since it opened.
The goal of the center is to give people dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues an alternative option to the emergency room. In addition to Monday through Friday walk-in hours, the center also has a mobile team that treats people right in their homes. It’s the first of its kind in the Rochester area.
Program Manager Melissa Shoemaker says it’s an urgent care model for behavioral health.
“When you’re in emotional crisis the last thing you wanna do is be put in an environment full of chaos so we’re able to offer a safer alternative, a more emotionally safe alternative for those individuals,” said Shoemaker.
On Friday, the center announced a new “jail diversion” program which allows law enforcement officials to refer someone facing a violation or a misdemeanor to the center instead of sending them to jail. If the person joins the program their charges could be dropped.