Mental Health Access Center

Exterior of Mental Health Access Center under renovationWhat is an Access Center

Plans are underway to make a mental health access center in Linn County a reality. 

Access centers are a new concept in Iowa. The vision for the access center is to provide urgent, high quality crisis behavioral treatment for people 18+ years of age who are experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis in our community. 

This effort is led by the Linn County Board of Supervisors in partnership with local law enforcement, hospitals, and local mental health partners. These groups are working together to create a welcoming space that will provide 24/7 services for adults with urgent or crisis behavioral health needs. 

Location

The Linn County Mental Health Access Center will be located in the former Linn County Public Health building at 501 13th St. NW, Cedar Rapids. Significant analysis went into the selection of this location. The Access Center is expected to open in 2020 following renovation of the building. 

Why an Access Center

The current lack of mental health resources and funding leave most individuals to end up in an emergency room or jail. Neither option provides long-term treatment care as individuals are released with very little direction to turn for help and potentially no support system. 

Hospitals, law enforcement, and service providers have long identified the need for a setting more appropriate than jail or a hospital emergency room for people to receive crisis mental health and substance use services. The Access Center will provide this alternative. The goal of the Access Center is to quickly assess each person's situation, provide services to help alleviate the crisis, and connect the individual to community-based services. In doing this, the goal is to ultimately reduce the number of unnecessary hospitalizations and arrests and create a healthier community. 

Access centers do not replace service providers. The Access Center will provide short-term assistance for individuals in crisis and then connect them to on-going recovery services. The Access Center will also reduce the number of mentally ill inmates in the county jail, who may be in-custody on non-violent misdemeanor charges merely because there is no other place to safely house them and/or provide them with the proper mental health treatment.

Services Will Include:

  • Immediate triage and screening
  • Suicide assessment and safety planning
  • Crisis stabilization and observation
  • Subacute services
  • Crisis psychiatric evaluations
  • Substance abuse assessment and counseling
  • Care coordination and referrals

Partners

Community partners for the Linn County Mental Health Access Center include representatives from: 

  • The Linn County Board of Supervisors and department staff
  • Local mental health and substance abuse services providers
  • Health care
  • Law enforcement
  • Emergency services

Linn County has committed $3.5 million for start-up funding. The Access Center will be under the management of Linn County Community Services.

Service Providers

Access Center services will be provide by:

  • Abbe Health
  • ASAC
  • Foundation 2
  • Penn Center

Service Limitations

The Access Center will not be able to serve:

  • Individuals in need of immediate medical care
  • Individuals who are violent at arrival or immediately prior to arrival with a likelihood that they will seriously hurt themselves, other patients, or our employees
  • Minors 17 years old or younger 

Information about how to use the Access Center services will be provided when the facility opens.

Contact Us

Contact Mental Health Access Center staff via email.


Pictured above: 
Linn County Mental Health Access Center under renovation (former location of Linn County Public Health) June 2020

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