March 7, 2019, Olmsted County, MN -- Soon, people in southeastern Minnesota experiencing a mental health crisis will have access to care in a center designed especially for them.
The center, proposed by an unprecedented collaboration between Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, and ten southeast Minnesota counties that are all part of the Collaborative Resource Education Services and Technology (CREST) collaborative, was just awarded $5 million in state bond funding by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).
"This center will meet a critical need for people across 10 counties here in southeast Minnesota," said Bruce Sutor, MD, practice chair for the Mayo Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology. "People in crisis are too often cared for in busy emergency departments. Now they will have, 24/7 access to the mental health services they need, in a welcoming, calm environment designed with their needs in mind."
The facility represents the vision of several entities working together to develop a new model of care; with the medical expertise of Olmsted Medical Center and Mayo Clinic; the knowledge and resources of the National Alliance for Mental Illness Southeast Minnesota(NAMI SE MN); and the local governance and operational oversight of Olmsted County. Construction on the facility is expected to begin in 2020.
"We realized early on that we all share the same goal," said Paul Fleissner, Deputy Administrator of Health, Housing, and Human Services for Olmsted County. "To address the serious gap in mental health care in our society, we needed to work together. The model we developed closes that gap, providing the care people need no matter their age, type of crisis, or ability to pay."
According to Olmsted County's 2018-2020 Community Health Improvement Plan, nearly 1 in 3 local adults reported having had a mental health condition. Most felt that mental health is one of the area's top health issues.
"We were aware that there was a gap in mental health care in southeastern Minnesota. By working together, we will be able to provide timely access to safe mental health services to individuals who may be in crisis and need mental health care," said Kathryn Lombardo, MD, Olmsted Medical Center president and OMC psychiatrist.
The facility will feature a safe and family-friendly atmosphere – with a recovery-focused design that doesn't feel clinical or restrictive. People who don't require an overnight stay will be able to receive an assessment, intervention, and real-time crisis care and coordination, as well as ongoing services.
The center will serve the 10-county area that includes Dodge, Steele, Waseca, Olmsted, Goodhue, Wabasha, Mower, Fillmore, Winona, and Houston counties.