Aug. 2, 2012
Crisis Solutions Center: Innovative Facility Diverts Mentally Ill and Drug Dependent from Jails and Hospital Emergency Rooms
A unique coalition of government officials, law enforcement agencies, and social service providers announced today the opening of an innovative new facility designed to divert the mentally ill and drug dependent away from our local jails and hospital emergency rooms and into King County’s Crisis Solutions Center (CSC).
The Crisis Solutions Center is a unique 16 bed facility located in the Jackson Place neighborhood of Seattle. The Center, combined with a longer term respite facility and mobile crisis team, is one of 39 strategies funded by the King County Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Sales Tax, a fund created by the King County Council to combat mental illness and drug addiction throughout King County.
The CSC is designed to provide immediate mental health and chemical dependency services to individuals who are in crisis. Individuals can be diverted to the CSC by either police officers in the field, hospital ER staff or first responders in order to avoid the revolving door of the jail cell and emergency room. Once at the facility, professional treatment providers will work to stabilize the person’s mental health and chemical dependency issues with immediate and direct services while giving the person a safe, warm bed for up to three days.
Dan Satterberg, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan
and Seattle Police Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer
at the August 2nd CSC news conference
For those individuals referred to the CSC by law enforcement, the person can avoid entanglement in the criminal justice system for a low level offense if they work with CSC staff to achieve positive outcomes. If they choose not to, they will face prosecution for the low level offenses. Police officers may also refer individuals whom they encounter in mental health or chemical dependency crisis, but have not committed a low level criminal offense.
The facility will be operated by trained experts in mental health and chemical dependency treatment providers employed by Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC). In announcing the opening, DESC Director Bill Hobson was joined by King County Human & Community Services Director Amnon Shoenfeld, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan, King County Council Chair Larry Gossett, Councilmembers Kathy Lambert and Bob Ferguson, Chief Nursing Officer Darcy Jaffe from Harborview Medical Center, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and other elected officials and law enforcement leaders.
“Until today we have accepted that the jail and the street are the default placements for many people suffering from chronic mental illness even though we know neither option is healthy for the afflicted person or the community,” Satterberg said. “This innovative program offers new hope for stability and recovery for people who have been spinning through the revolving door of untreated mental illness, homelessness and arrest.”
For more information on the Crisis Solutions Center, click here:
For the KUOW news story, click here:
For the Seattle Times news story, click here:
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