FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — A model approach to dealing with a mental health crisis is coming to Frederick.
It is a 24/7 walk-in facility that mental health professionals are calling the first of its kind.
The center will deal with suicide prevention and emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It was probably 10 to 15 years ago that this was identified as a need,” said Shannon Aleshire, CEO of the Frederick County Mental Health Association. “We’ve been working on incremental steps to get this done and make it 24/7 ever since then.”
Experts said that going to a hospital emergency room may not always be the most appropriate step for mental health intervention.
“Sometimes [it’s good to] just have someone to talk to, just to get a hot meal, to work through a crisis and get referrals to community services,” said Andrea Walker, behavioral sciences director for the county.
Congressman David Trone has been focused on mental health issues on Capitol Hill. He said the Frederick center will soon be duplicated in neighboring Washington County in a partnership with Meritus Health.
“The key is when someone hits the bottom in crisis, you have got to be there to catch them,” Trone said.
The new mental health crisis center took a lot of partners and coordination to bring the project to fruition.
“It’s our partnership with the mental health association… but also the fact that we were able to work with our state and federal partners to secure funding,” said Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater.
The center will be open 24/7 with no appointment necessary and no charge to the client.