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Linn County and its partners—Abbe Health, Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC), Foundation 2, and Penn Center—celebrated the completion of Linn County’s first Mental Health Access Center with a ribbon cutting on March 5, 2021.
“This is the culmination of years of collaboration, cooperation, planning, overcoming challenges such as natural disasters and a pandemic, and creating opportunities to ensure that people with brain health and substance use challenges have a safe, inviting, accessible, and high-quality alternative to the emergency room or jail for services,” Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers said. “This place is a space for healing and hope for the possibility of a better tomorrow. Those who come through these doors will be treated with the utmost dignity, care, and respect. The services offered here are to help someone live a fuller life and they are welcome to come here as many times as they need. We are here to help you.”
The Linn County Access Center, located in the former Linn County Public Health building at 501 13th St. NW in Cedar Rapids, will provide 24/7 urgent, high quality crisis behavioral treatment for people 18 years of age and older who are experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.
Services will include:
Led by Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers, development of the Access Center concept included community partners from local mental health and substance abuse service providers, health care, law enforcement, and emergency services.
The Linn County Board of Supervisors committed $3.5 million for start-up funding. The Access Center will be under the management of Linn County Community Services, a department within Linn County government. Access Center Director Erin Foster will be the only County employee at the Access Center. Services will be provide by Abbe Health, Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC), Foundation 2, and Penn Center.
“I am so excited to be a part of this team. This Access Center will bring a whole new meaning to community partners working together for the common good of people,” Foster said. “The Access Center will provide a better way—an easier way—for people who need it, to get the help they deserve. This Access Center has not only the opportunity, but now the momentum, to continue to reduce barriers for those needing mental health and substance use disorder help. We not only have some of the best providers in the region, but also community support to give every individual who walks through these doors the support they need to live their lives to the fullest. This Mental Health Access Center will be a game changer in the lives of many for years to come.”
The official opening of the Access Center will occur later in March. The ribbon cutting was held prior to the official opening and prior to serving the first patients in order to protect patient privacy.
Watch the video of the ribbon cutting.
Read the remarks (PDF) delivered by Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers.