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Burrell Behavioral Health’s Rapid Access Unit: One year of breaking the crisis cycle

Burrell’s Behavioral Crisis Center - Rapid Access Unit opened in June 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Since then, it has provided services to nearly 1,500 individuals.

(June 17, 2021) – Burrell Behavioral Health, the Healthy Living Alliance and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department celebrated the first anniversary of the Behavioral Crisis Center on Thursday.

Burrell’s Behavioral Crisis Center - Rapid Access Unit opened in June 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Since then, it has provided services to nearly 1,500 individuals in need of:

  • Immediate psychiatric services
  • Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use
  • Psychiatric assessment
  • Initial assessment eligibility determination
  • Brief therapy
  • Peer support services
  • 23-hour observation
  • Referral to appropriate follow up treatment

“This is truly a healthcare initiative,” said Dustin Brown, Vice President of Integration at Burrell.

The Behavioral Crisis Center was built out of collaboration and cooperation between local agencies, following the publishing of a Community Mental Health and Substance Use Assessment in 2019, which showed the need for quicker access to mental health and substance use recovery services in Springfield. Police Chief Paul Williams’ idea for a drop-in center became a reality when Burrell volunteered to build, house and operate the facility. The Greene County Commission dedicated $1 million to the project, while Mercy and CoxHealth both support it through in-kind and referral pathway contributions.

“We have to take away the stigma of saying, ‘I need help,’” said Acting Health Director Katie Towns. “This is the facility where we can take anybody and say, ‘This is where you can get help.’”

The Behavioral Crisis Center’s resources extend beyond the city limits of Springfield. In its first year, it served individuals from more than 30 counties across southwest Missouri. The center is committed to coordinating necessary services and ongoing treatment options to improve the outcomes of people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. The around-the-clock facility was designed as an option for emergency responders to refer to- for those for those experiencing mental health crisis instead of adding additional pressure to local emergency rooms or jails.

“We’re going to affect mental health and substance use issues across the state and you can say it started right here,” said Police Chief Paul Williams, who also leads Burrell’s Board of Directors.

Within the last two weeks, leaders from three of Missouri’s major cities toured the facility including Mayor Brian Treece from Columbia, Mayor Quinton Lucas from Kansas City and Mayor Ken McClure from Springfield.

“One of the things that has struck me is the widespread impact of this behavioral health center,” McClure said. “My challenge to the community is, let’s make sure it’s used.”

Recently, the requirement to remain at 50% of the facility’s capacity to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was lifted and the crisis center can now serve twice as many people in need. Burrell Behavioral Health is encouraged that the crisis center has already become a safe space for many in Springfield and the surrounding areas.

The Behavioral Crisis Center is located at 800 S. Park Ave. in Springfield and can be reached at (417) 893-7735. To learn more, click here.

Anyone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis can Burrell's Crisis Hotlines in Southwest Missouri (1-800-494-7355), Central Missouri (1-800-395-2132) or Northwest Arkansas (1-888-518-0108).

Media Contacts:

  • Matt Lemmon, System Director of Communications, Burrell Behavioral Health, 417-415-1386, matthew.lemmon@burrellcenter.com
  • Aaron Schekorra, Public Health Information Administrator, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, 417-380-2556, aaron.schekorra@springfieldmo.gov

About Burrell Behavioral Health:

Burrell Behavioral Health is one of the largest community behavioral health providers in the nation, working with more than 40,000 clients in 8 counties in Arkansas and 17 counties in Missouri. Burrell has more than 400 licensed providers offering a full continuum of care through our integrated network. Services include individual therapy and counseling, addiction recovery, psychiatric and medication management, educational and therapeutic groups, crisis intervention, medication-assisted treatment, adult stabilization, case management, residential treatment, autism, diagnostic testing and evaluations and developmental disability support. Learn more about Burrell’s programs and services at www.burrellcenter.com and www.burrellcenter.com/arkansas.


24-Hour Crisis Line

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health or substance-use crisis, please call our toll-free 24-hour telephone line. Our team can help provide immediate assistance.

Southwest Missouri: 1-800-494-7355

Central Missouri: 1-800-395-2132

National Help Line: Call or Text 988