Washington city plans crisis center based on Idaho model

November 11, 2019

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Washington county plans to establish a mental health crisis stabilization unit based on a nearby center in Idaho, officials said.

The North Idaho Crisis Center in Coeur D’Alene served about 1,400 people in 2018, enabling the clients to stay out of an emergency room or jail, The Spokesman-Review reported Sunday.

Spokane County studied the Coeur d’Alene center while planning its own facility, said Ariane Schmidt, city project manager for Spokane.

The county Board of Commissioners is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to grant $350,000 to Pioneer Human Services to develop an operational framework for the proposed center.

The Idaho center provides walk-in service to anyone suffering a mental health or substance use crisis. Employees help draft safety plans and make references to shelters, social services or higher-level care providers.

More than 700 clients left the crisis center with individual plans, often to stay with a family member or somewhere they felt supported, officials said.

The center remains open 24 hours and has not closed its doors since launching four years ago. The goal is “to provide basic stabilization and de-escalation services for somebody experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis,” said Don Robinson, the center’s crisis and intervention services manager.

The center served 160 people last year who were not Idaho residents, a majority of those from Spokane County.

“If somebody appears at our front door, and they are in a crisis, we will bring them in,” Robinson said. “The key priority is to make them safe.”


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com