Adults who are experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis can now receive services from the Linn County Mental Health Access Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year without an appointment.
The Access Center is located at 501 13th St. NW in Cedar Rapids.
“We have been working toward this milestone since first opening our doors in March 2021. Having a safe place where people can come at any time day or night to get help with a mental health or substance use crisis is a major achievement for the health of our community,” said Mental Health Access Center Director Erin Foster in a statement.
Patients, who do not have to be residents of Linn County to receive services, can be brought to the Access Center by loved ones or come on their own. Patients can also be brought in by law enforcement or mobile crisis teams. In fiscal year 2023, 128 people were brought to the Access Center for help through law enforcement referrals instead of being taken to jail or the hospital.
“Hospital and jail diversion was one of our primary goals when we envisioned an Access Center in Linn County,” Ms. Foster said. “Hospitals and jails are not the right places for people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. Our trained staff can triage a patient, assess their situation, and get them started on crisis stabilization, a sobering unit, or some other crisis service generally within the first 60 minutes of their arrival. And we equip every patient with a plan before we discharge them.”
The Access Center offers these services:
- Crisis triage and screening (Foundation 2)
- Crisis counseling (Foundation 2)
- Crisis stabilization (Abbe Health)
- Mental health evaluations (Abbe Health)
- Mental health prescription assistance (Abbe Health)
- Peer support (Abbe Health)
- Substance use evaluations and support (Unity Point Chemical Dependency)
- Sobering unit (Area Ambulance Service)
Use of the Mental Health Access Center services is 100% voluntary.
The Access Center cannot serve individuals in need of immediate medical care or individuals who are violent at arrival or immediately prior to arrival with a likelihood that they will seriously hurt themselves, other patients, or Access Center employees. In addition, the Access Center is not able to serve minors 17 years old or younger.
In fiscal year 2023, the Access Center served more than 1,200 patients, placed 344 patients into crisis stabilization, and made referrals for mental health and substance use disorder services.
The Access Center is under the management of Linn County Community Services, a department within Linn County government. Learn more about the Mental Health Access Center and watch the Access Center video at LinnCountyIowa.gov/MHAC.