It was announced this week that the behavioral health crisis center in Bannock County is set to open March 2019.
It’s a project that’s been in the works for more than four years.
One of the people who’s been involved since the beginning, is Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen.
“Mental health in our state is hurting,” Nielsen said.
And he said it needs a solution. Mental health is something he said has been important to him since he started his law enforcement career. So he’s thrilled to see a crisis center finally happening, which he said is a big step in the right direction.
“If we have somebody in crisis or meets that peak, they don’t stay at that peak all the time,” Nielsen said. “When they have a meltdown because of a mental illness, or just break down, that’s a peak. This helps take those peaks down before they erupt and before, we really haven’t had that many places to go.”
Coming soon, those who need it will have a center that’s open 24-7, 365 days a year, with trained professionals to help.
“Its a quantum leap forward in mental health.”
Nielsen said it opens up other options for people to consider, like law enforcement, judges, patients families and even patients themselves.
“Now they’ve got somebody that they can go talk to,” Nielsen stated. “Now they can take him or her there and not have to wait until they commit crimes to be able to get them into the system.”
Nielsen said it won’t immediately help the jail population but it could help it long term because it’s a stepping stone for helping habitual or repeat drug offenders, to hopefully keep them out of jail down the road.
Nielsen said bottom line is, it’s going to be a community effort.
“We take the stovepipes and I’m the cop and I can’t help and I’m the nurse and I can’t help and I’m the doctor – we get nothing done,” he said. “But if we all are working together, we can make a difference.”
Nielsen said the state legislature will subsidize the crisis center for three years and after that, the county has to secure its own funding to keep it operating.
It will be for all of region six, which includes Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Power counties.