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Organizations plan center in Grand Rapids to help with mental health crises

young man sitting with his head in his hands in the middle of a field
Francisco Gonzalez
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Francisco Gonzalez

There are plans in Grand Rapids for a new crisis care center to help people get through a behavioral or mental health issue. The new facility would create a short term, secure facility for people to stay and get help. Network180 and Mercy Health, the two organizations behind the effort, said often now, those people end up in jail cells or emergency departments.

Network 180 is the state-approved coalition for mental health crisis in Kent County. Bill Ward is its head. He said the goal is to have more services for every type of mental health crisis.

“We want to make sure that all of those levels of care are available to anyone in Kent County regardless of their insurance status,” Ward said.

He said a crisis facility can also help when patients need longer-term mental health care, but the beds are full at inpatient facilities. “Then we want to have a place for them to be kept safe and get better potentially, kind of bring down the crisis until we can get them into one of those inpatient facilities,” Ward said.

The new short-term facility is expected to open in about a year. Ward says for now, people in Grand Rapids experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis can reach out to Network180 directly. A full list of crisis lines for all counties in Michigan is available here.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.