Burrell & Greene County to Sign Crisis Center Agreement

Greene County Commissioners will be signing an agreement with Burrell Behavioral Health to provide $1 million in public funding for a new crisis mental health center.

The county is holding a formal signing ceremony on Tuesday in the Historic Courthouse, Room 212, at 2 p.m., with the public invited to attend.

“This contract signing is a real milestone. It is the result of a great deal of research, study and collaboration on the part of not just the Commission, but many individuals and agencies who continue to work together to bring needed resources and services to the citizens of our community,” Commissioner Harold Bengsch said in a statement. “The Commission feels funding this unique center is a step in the right direction to address our County’s growing mental health needs.”

The partnership comes in part because of Greene County voters in 2017 passing a sales tax that put a priority on addressing mental health and substance abuse issues within the county. The funding was to help find ways to ease the burden on law enforcement, first responders, and the courts.

A 2018-19 study headed by the Healthy Living Alliance found that Greene County’s suicide rate of 24.8 per 100,000 residents was higher than the state and national averages, and that the county’s depression rate was also higher than state and national averages.

The county also has less in-patient beds than the national average.

The study also found that crisis stabilization was a key need for the county in combating mental health issues. Local leaders traveled to surrounding states to look at “rapid access” crisis centers where mental health crises were given immediate treatment from mental health professionals. Burrell proposed such a center to the Greene County Commission in 2019.

“As Greene County’s Community Mental Health Center, we are beyond appreciative to the County Commission for trusting Burrell with the establishment and service provision of this rapid-access Behavioral Crisis Center,” Burrell President & CEO Dr. C.J. Davis said in a county released statement. “With our governmental, law enforcement and healthcare partners all on board, we feel this unique concept will be an enormous asset for Springfield and Greene County, and serve as a blueprint for collaborative, crisis-level mental healthcare nationally. This truly is a historic moment for our community.”

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