McNabb Center to open crisis stabilization unit, walk-in clinic

The McNabb Center is on the verge of providing the only Crisis Stabilization Unit and Walk-In Clinic to assist with mental health emergency needs within 50 miles.

McNabb Center officials said this week that a contract has been signed after months of negotiations with the state of Tennessee in order to help provide the service and once it is up and running, it will offer a 15-bed unit for those 18 and older.

“They will be able to get services right here in their community,” said Sharon Reid, director of Hamblen County Services for the McNabb Center.

Construction is expected to begin next month and the facility to be open by August. The cost of construction is around $700,000.

Marie Williams, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, applauded the news.

“We know that mental health care works best when people have multiple options at multiple levels, and this Crisis Stabilization Unit in Hamblen County will do just that,” Williams said. “It will provide options for people living through a mental health crisis, their families, staff in emergency departments and law enforcement officers. We are excited to see the opening of this Crisis Stabilization Unit, and we are grateful to our partners at McNabb Center for their tireless work to serve the mental health needs of this community.”

The closes such centers right now are in Knoxville or Johnson City, officials said.

The goal of the unit is to try and help divert people from psychiatric hospitalization, whether that means a brief state in the CSU or linking up with another local outpatient service in the community, officials said.

The Walk-in Center will be available for anyone who needs immediate access to behavioural healthcare. It will provide assessments, medication management, up to 23 hours of observation and referrals to appropriate providers.

Reid said they will try in any way they can to help those who need help.

“We will adress anyone who comes regardless,” she said. “If you are having a mental health emergency, the last thing you want to do is turn them away because of insurance.”

The CSU will offer 24 hour, seven day a week mental health emergency care.

This will help other providers as well by being able to offer a local service.

“When the service is not available here, we overload other services,” Reid said.

The location is also key because Morristown is central in the Lakeway Area, able to reach out to many other different communities.

“Being centrally located is a benefit to everyone,” Reid said.

There will be partnerships with other agencies. Reid stressed that they will assist with those who may have drug problems, the center will not act as a detox, but it will treat underlying conditions that may be the reasons people turn to substance abuse.

The CSU will also not act as a long-term care facility. But, if a person with high anxiety or high depression comes in and the treatment shows they need it then they could stay for two to three days.

“They could get stabilized for a few days,” Reid said.

There will also be job growth as the center reaches out to hire people with bachelor’s and master’s degrees with professional experience conducting mental health work.

Overall, though, the new unit will bring much needed services into the community addressing a multitude of mental health needs. Patients will be able to experience that when they visit.

“There’s quite a bit of services they can get in the CSU,” Reid said.

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