Wellstone sees large number of clients using new emergency services and facility

Megan Plotka reporting.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 4:04 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Leaders with Wellstone, Inc.’s premiere mental health emergency services say their new program is filling a lot of gaps in healthcare right now.

There are about 30 beds open to help clients going through mental health crises.

Wellstone leaders opened the ‘Wellstone Emergency Services’ (WES) program in a temporary center in the spring of 2021 while they built their more permanent location on Memorial Parkway.

In the temporary center, workers say they saw about one or two clients a month, but the expanded location has drawn in a lot more people needing resources. Wellstone’s Development Director, Karen Petersen, says people are coming in and out every day since it opened in October. It’s becoming more and more useful, all of its beds were full on Friday night.

Some people stay for a few hours in the temporary observation unit. It’s for clients who need short-term help like if they need help adjusting medications.

Then they have in-patient beds for clients who need long-term support, like if their crisis involves suicidal ideations, manic episodes or substance abuse problems. The average stay in these beds lasts for an average of 4.5 days.

When this place opened it became a new day for people who were hurting were suffering from suicidal ideations or manic behaviors or schizophrenic delusions,” says Petersen. “This really really transformed the way we treat people who have these experiences and are suffering.”

People in crisis can just walk through the doors to receive help. It’s also used as a crisis diversion program from emergency rooms and jails.

EMTs and police officers can bring people here to the center if they suspect people are experiencing some kind of mental health crisis.

“For so long, they’ve been going through the revolving rooms at emergency rooms and jails never getting better because their core health problem has never been addressed,” says Peterson. “That’s the magic, the miracle, the blessing of what’s happening here at Wellstone Emergency Services.”

Its doors are open at 4040 Memorial Pkwy SW at all hours of the day.

Click Here to Subscribe on YouTube: Watch the latest WAFF 48 news, sports & weather videos on our YouTube channel.