As the country now has a new rebranded, nationwide phone number that connects to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the need for locally based mental health support also becomes more clear. Case in point, Placer County will open a new, voluntary urgent care center in September — uniquely designed for residents experiencing a mental health crisis.
The Lotus Behavioral Health Crisis Center will offer county residents a short-term place to stay where they can decompress for up to two days in a calm environment. With the help of trained clinicians, clients will work to address the immediate crisis and create a plan to access needed wrap-around services before discharge. These services range from housing needs, social services or substance-use treatment.
“We’ve increased supports for those in crises in recent years, now offering a mobile crisis team for both adults and children that works alongside various partners,” said Amy Ellis, director of the Adult System of Care division in Placer County. “This latest addition does even more to help meet individuals’ needs in a welcoming space, at a time when mental health needs are growing.”
Adults who live in the county and are experiencing mental health challenges can call a 24-hour phone line, 1-888-886-5401. Callers will be screened for eligibility at Lotus or a variety of other mental health programs offered. Individuals can also be referred by law enforcement, healthcare and other partners. The Lotus Center is available to any county resident regardless of insurance.
The Lotus Center is funded in part through community health investments, including those from not-for-profit Sutter Health. Sutter Health conducts Community Health Needs Assessments every three years, explained Kelly Brenk, the network’s community health director in the Valley Area. The assessments provide an in-depth look into priority health needs within a region, identifying communities of concern and vulnerable populations where community benefit investments are needed most. Placer County’s most recent assessment identified a need for improved access to mental and behavioral health services.
At a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring the Lotus Center, Brian Alexander, CEO of Sutter Roseville Medical Center, said: “We are proud to make this investment to expand Placer County’s capacity to provide critical and timely care to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and are thrilled to have a part in bringing this essential resource to fruition.”
Those in the healthcare community are encouraged by the progress made with creating more access to mental health support; they also acknowledge there is more work to do. Placer County along with Sutter’s Mental Health and Addiction Care team participate in the Crisis Now Academy, a 10-month learning community designed to support California counties in optimizing their behavioral health and substance use disorder crisis system. The mental health urgent care facility is part of the core elements identified by the program as a systematic approach to effective crisis care.
Jodi Nerell, director of local mental health engagement at Sutter Health, believes the center is just the beginning and is inspired by what is yet to come.
“Learnings from our collaboration will only put us in a better position to continue developing and refining the ways we can support our greater community,” she said.