On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, I was fortunate to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for Jonesboro’s new Crisis Stabilization Unit. This 16-bed facility will allow Craighead County, along with 13 other surrounding counties, to offer mental health treatment in lieu of incarceration when appropriate.
Ruth Allison Dover, Executive Director of Mid-South Health Systems and good friend, gave the inaugural remarks, reprinted below.
Address from Ruth Allison Dover:
Thank you. Good morning. I am Ruth Allison Dover, the Executive Director of Mid-South Health Systems, the community mental health center serving 20 counties in NE Arkansas. It is an absolute honor for Mid-South to partner with Craighead County to open this Regional Crisis Unit. First, We would not be here today if it were not for the vision of our Governor in recognizing the positive impact of jail diversion through coordination between law enforcement and community mental health. I must also start by thanking Craighead County and the Quorum Court for their steadfast leadership in making this project happen. County Judge Marvin Day and Sheriff Marty Boyd have been resolute in their advocacy for a diversion program such as this Crisis Unit.
While we are here today to celebrate the opening of this amazing facility, we would be remiss if we did not honor all the ground work that has been done by law enforcement to prepare for this day. There are almost 100 officers in Northeast Arkansas who have completed a 40 hour training course in Crisis Intervention. These officers are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and respond with diversion when treatment is needed.
This CSU will offer a professionally staffed facility for residents who are experiencing an acute mental health crisis. CSUs provide hospital diversion services in a safe environment with on site psychiatric and co-occuring substance abuse disorder services. Think of this CSU as being law enforcement’s psychiatric emergency room. This CSU will provide observation, evaluation and emergency treatment and referral with in a 24-72 hour timeframe. All clients will be discharged with a customized plan of care for their on-going treatment. With 16 beds available, we will be able to accommodate 100 admissions per month. Desmond Tutu said “Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” We intend to use each of these 16 beds every day to do a little bit of good that put together will serve our communities well.
Lastly but most importantly , we must keep focus on our mission to serve those with mental illness with the highest quality services. Mid-South Health Systems shares the belief of the National Alliance on Mental Illness that optimal treatment, favorable outcomes, and recovery are most likely to occur when comprehensive treatments and services are provided in an atmosphere of respect, acceptance, and hope.
Let me take just a few more moments to recognize just some of many people at Mid-South who have worked tirelessly to make this day a reality–
Board members who have continually believed in this project-
Marvin Steele, Dr. Paul Rhoads, Dr. Ruth Provost, Mayor Cedric Williams
DHS– Jay Hill- Director of DAABHS- our state partner as a community mental health center
Kathryn Griffin who always believed in NE Arkansas even when this project took longer than anticipated
Please enjoy a tour of facility later. Mid-South Health Systems employees will be available throughout the building to answer any questions you have about the operation of the CSU.