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Five Regional Crisis Stabilization Facilities Open in Wisconsin Including One in Wausau

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 -- 8:01 AM

(John Davis, Wisconsin Public Radio) Five regional crisis stabilization facilities are now open in Wisconsin, a step professionals hope will change the way people with a mental health or substance abuse issue get care.

According to John Davis with Wisconsin Public Radio, the centers in Waukesha, Beaver Dam, Madison, La Crosse and Wausau are designed to be a short-term stay for someone in crisis.

The state Legislature approved the idea last year, and the state Department of Health Services granted $10 million of the state’s federal COVID relief funds to help pay for the facilities.

“(These crisis centers) are able to offer individuals in crisis short-term, out-of-home, stabilization services that are an alternative to a hospital,” said Brianna Zaborowske, DHS lead crisis coordinator. The regional centers offer their own menu of services that include help deescalating from a crisis, individual crisis counseling and skill building.

“What they offer is some time away from whatever may be a crisis trigger, giving that person some time to stabilize, deescalate and identify a plan of action moving forward to address their crisis needs,” Zaborowske said.

“There’s a lot of momentum right now both nationally and in the state of Wisconsin to improve crisis and mental health services,” she continued. “We know that there’s a need for crisis and mental health services in our state.”

Calls to a new statewide mental health helpline more than doubled in its first year of use and opioid overdose deaths were up almost 20-percent in Wisconsin between 2020 and 2022.

In the past, people suffering from a mental health or substance abuse crisis were often taken by police to one facility in the state, the Winnebago Mental Health Institute near Oshkosh.

Now, family or friends can call a county crisis line, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or 911 if they need help and be referred to the regional crisis facility for support.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.