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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • NWMHC's new 'crisis stabilization site' a preferred alternative to interventions in ER or jail

  • Dan Wilson's longtime vision becomes a reality in Crookston.
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  •     Crookston-based Northwestern Mental Health Center's new "mental health crisis stabilization site" is finished and open. Monday, NWMHC Executive Director Shauna Reitmeier and staff led tours of the facility located at 1131 Gretchen Lane in Crookston's northeast corner, adjacent to the Northwestern Apartments.
        This newly constructed two-bed facility assists individuals 18 years and older experiencing a mental health crisis with the goal of preventing an intensive, restrictive and high cost service such as an impatient hospitalization and/or incarceration. It is a safe environment for non-aggressive persons to work through their crisis, with the assistance of the site's mental health providers.
        The short-term interventions (up to a maximum of 10 days), include a wide array of services if clinically indicated. These include 24-hour observation and supervision; screening and assessment; individualized treatment planning; professional support, counseling and skills development services; medication management and supervision; and coordination with family and community support to aid participants in returning to their usual level of functioning. Upon discharge, in addition to the stabilization services, there is a continuum of other services available through the Northwestern Mental Health Center, Inc., to support their mental health recovery if clinically indicated and accepted by the individual. Services are provided for persons residing in Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Polk and Red Lake Counties.
        A mental health crisis can affect anyone at any time, Reitmeier said. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. It can make dealing with ordinary demands of everyday life challenging. Any number of factors can affect an individual's mental health, she explained, and include physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual hardships, which, if left untreated, could result in an emergency situation and possible hospitalization.
        The crisis stabilization unit is intended to assist individuals regain a sense of resiliency, address their mental health crisis or mental health emergency to help them cope with immediate stressors and begin to return to their usual level of functioning as well as prevent the need for more intensive and high cost services. This kind of service can have a very positive impact for both the individual and the community. It assists in improving safety and stability, helps to increase an individual's functioning while assisting in developing and/or enhancing better coping skills and it supports being a good steward of public funds.
        The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible, Reitmeier said.
        "As yet, the facility is unnamed but a general call for suggestions is welcomed," she added. "We are excited that the vision of Dan Wilson, retired executive director, is now a reality."
        To access this service, contact the Northwestern Mental Health On-Call Mental Health Professional at 281-3940 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, or after hours and weekends call the Crisis Line at 800 282-5005.
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