Hospital emergency rooms are not always the best place for people who need a calm and supportive environment during a time of mental or emotional crisis.  But too often they have been the only resort for treatment during acute mental health episodes.

We are reducing reliance on overcrowded emergency rooms by promoting alternatives for adults and children with urgent mental health needs, and by strengthening linkages to community resources that can more appropriately provide both immediate and long-term treatment.

The Health Agency is expanding its network of psychiatric urgent care centers, which accommodate walk-in visits and people transported by family, friends, ambulances or even police.  These urgent care centers will be a better place to provide support and care for those in mental health crisis.

Psychiatric urgent care clinics handled more than 27,000 visits in the Health Agency’s first year, greatly reducing the patient load in nearby emergency rooms.  Five centers are currently operating, and more are planned.