SDDV: Dutchess Co Launches Innovative 24/7 MH/SU Walk-In Center

NYAPRS Note: The following details the opening of a very innovative alternative to emergency rooms and incarceration and a door way to crisis stabilization and recovery, a program that has been inspired by the work of PEOPLe, Inc’s CEO and NYAPRS board member Steve Miccio.

New Dutchess Center Offers 24/7, Walk-In Mental Health, Drug Abuse Services
By Carol Reif and Skip Pearlman Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Folks in crisis now have a new place to turn for help in Dutchess County.

The county has opened a “stabilization center” that provides 24/7 help to those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

The facility, located at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie, is part of the county’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health’s mental health division. Those in need of immediate help, can call or text the Dutchess County HELPLINE at (845) 485-9700 or call toll-free, (877) 485-9700.

It offers trained professionals who can help adults, youths, and families deal with addiction, intoxication, family issues, and emotional distress such as anxiety and depression.

No appointments are needed and no one will be turned away due to lack of insurance or ability to pay.

County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro, at the facility’s grand opening Thursday, March 16, called it a “critical resource” and said it will help the county keep residents with mental illness from having to go to hospital emergency rooms, or from getting caught up in the criminal justice system.

The center is “a model for New York and the nation, one that can be replicated throughout America as we improve the lives of our neighbors living with mental health and substance abuse issues,” the county executive said.

The center is, he added, “100 percent voluntary.”

This means that anyone can walk in at any time, no appointments are needed.

The can stay for up to 23 hours at a time and, after leaving, will receive follow-up care and monitoring from the center’s staff.

The center actually had its soft opening in February and has already helped more than 100 people, including those with opiate abuse issues.

Several of them were brought to the center by members of local law enforcement, many of whom have been trained in crisis intervention.

Among the services available are: crisis counseling and mental health assessments, supervised outpatient withdrawal services, addictions and substance use counseling, peer advocacy and support; links to community-based resources.

The $5.6 million center is the result of a collaborative effort between several community partners, including MidHudson Regional Hospital, Mid-Hudson Addiction Recovery Center (MARC), Astor Services for Children & Families, and PEOPLe, Inc.

It was partially paid for with state funding.

The model is being closely watched by agencies that hope to replicate it in their communities throughout the state.

Members of the New York City Bureau of Mental Health recently toured the center, after researching and visiting facilities in several other states, and said that the county "has built a foundation that brings mental health services together in a way that no one else has.”

At the ceremony, the center was dedicated to former longtime county commissioner of mental hygiene, Dr. Kenneth M. Glatt, who was also the driving force behind the creation of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team.

The team is a key component of the county’s diversion program.

It is dispatched through HELPLINE and helps people in crisis and avoids emergency room visits.

Dutchess Legislature Chairman Dale Borchert said the county’s approach to mental health issues is tops in New York.

The center is “going to make a positive difference in the lives of many people,” he added.