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Mental health advocates, Dane Co. leaders celebrate opening of Behavioral Health – Health News Today

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Joe Parisi cuts the ribbon at the new Behavioral Health Resource Center

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, community partners and mental health advocates came together Monday to celebrate the opening of Dane County’s Behavioral Health Resource Center.

The BHRC was created to help patients and their loved ones navigate the public and private healthcare systems to make it easier to find mental and behavioral care. According to a news release, the center is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put an overwhelming strain on many in our community. We know it’s a challenging time for those struggling with mental illness and addiction, and we’re seeing an increase in suicides compared to last year,” Parisi said. “Through the Behavioral Health Resource Center, we hope to coordinate care and improve outcomes for Dane County residents struggling with mental and behavioral health and addiction. We’re excited to start providing this unique, one-stop service countywide.”

Plans for the BHRC were revealed in November 2019. The center will receive more than $1 million in funding from Dane County each year.

The BHRC, which is scheduled to begin operations in November, will be led by a social work supervisor and staffed with clinically-licensed behavioral health resource specialists, case managers and a peer support coordinator. The center will initially operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with plans to be operational 24/7 by early 2021.

Staff will direct people to care providers and work to mitigate barriers to mental and behavioral health services.

“The Behavioral Health Resource Center represents a critical milestone in enhancing behavioral health care in our community at a critical time,” said Beth Lonergan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at UW Health University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. “Reducing potential barriers to access through a central entry point enables real person-centered care with the right services, at the right time, in the right place.”

Local healthcare providers, insurers and other stakeholders have created the Behavioral Health Resource Center Workgroup to formalize their relationships and better serve the community. The groups that are part of the workgroup include Access Community Health, Chrysalis, Group Health Cooperative, Journey Mental Health Center, NAMI Dane County, Quartz, SSM Health, Tellurian, UnityPoint Health, UW Health and UW Medical Foundation, Veterans Administration, and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The BHRC is located at 818 West Badger Rd. It shares a building with other Dane County programs like the Community Restorative Court, Joining Forces for Families and…

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