Wellstone planning to open new mental health facility this summer
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A new mental health facility is coming to North Alabama this summer. WellStone is building a Crisis Diversion Center next to its office on South Memorial Parkway.
Currently, Wellstone has 12 different facilities across Madison and Cullman Counties, according to Jeremy Blair, the CEO of WellStone. Blair says the company serves approximately 12,000 clients every year.
The new facility will be 25,000 square feet and help serve the population. The company is excited to bring the facility to the Tennessee Valley, said Blair. He adds that this type of facility is long overdue.
“We opened the temporary operation in May of last year, and so, from May to December, we served 150 people. And from January to last month, we had already served 180 people,” said Blair.
“So, that kind of tells you right there that there’s definitely a need for this type of facility and that the demand will likely continue to rise,” he added.
Blair says typically when someone is in a mental health crisis, first responders, such as EMTs and law enforcement, are usually the ones responding.
According to Blair, people in mental health crises are frequently taken to jail or the emergency room. He says, often times, these aren’t the best places for someone in a crisis.
Not only will the new center help community members but it will also provide a place for officers to bring people who need care from licensed mental health professionals.
He says the facility, which is estimated to cost around $10 million, will be a game changer for the Valley.
“There’s not one that exists like it anywhere in North Alabama, and so, being able to bring this resource to those who are in a mental health crisis is extremely important to us at Wellstone and to the staff that are operating the program,” said Blair.
According to Blair, WellStone is hoping to open its doors at the end of July or beginning of August. He says building during the pandemic has been a challenge, but they are getting close to the finish line.
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