On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS) held a ribbon-cutting and open house at its new Behavioral Crisis Center (BCC), located at 17421 Medical Center Parkway in Independence, Missouri.
This event marked the opening of the BCC as a walk-in crisis center for eastern Jackson County residents experiencing a mental health or substance-use crisis. Comprehensive Mental Health Services was joined by local elected officials, community healthcare partners, the Independence Chamber of Commerce, and local and state officials. Speakers included: Julie Pratt, regional president of Brightli, CMHS/Burrell’s parent company, Brent McGinty, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for Behavioral Health, and Terrell Johnson, Director of the BCC.
Behavioral Crisis Centers are community solutions to a community problem. Emergency rooms are often overwhelmed with requests for care and are not the ideal locations to address behavioral health crises, and local law enforcement agencies need to have access to behavioral health specialists when they are called out to address situations that may turn out to have a root in behavioral health.
“No one plans a crisis, and we are incredibly proud to open this facility as a much-needed, immediate option for behavioral services in our community,” said Pratt. “We thank the City of Independence, the Department of Mental Health, and our friends in health care and law enforcement for their trust and partnership. This facility will save lives.”
The BCC is designed to provide immediate crisis need of adults 18 years and older. The BCC is a rapid access unit that is a walk-in crisis access point for psychiatric care, Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid use, clinical assessment, brief therapy, and peer support services. The BCC staff includes behavioral health technicians, certified peer specialists, nurses, therapists, medical providers and more to ensure comprehensive treatment and connection to appropriate next steps.
"We are here to be kind, to be empathetic, to be understanding for those individuals that are extremely vulnerable that come into our space,” Johnson said. “We want to help them, not identify their crisis, but to navigate their crisis.
The BCC currently provides care from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days/week and will soon open 23 hours a day to provide an access point for members of our community who need immediate crisis intervention, and for organizations that provide services to our community to refer those in crisis.
About Comprehensive Mental Health Services:
For over 50 years Comprehensive Mental Health Services has been the safety-net provider offering behavioral health services to Eastern Jackson County as well as providing substance use services throughout Eastern Jackson County and Kansas City. In 10 locations throughout Eastern Jackson County and Kansas City, CMHS provides progressive, innovative, trauma-informed care to children, families and adults. The services offered by CMHS are based on proven practices and allow for individualized care tailored to meet the specific needs of our consumers.
In 2021, CMHS merged with Burrell Behavioral Health and continues to operate under the CMHS name. Burrell Behavioral Health is headquartered in Springfield, Mo., and serves the mental health needs of communities throughout 26 counties in Missouri and Arkansas. This merger creates new opportunities for collaboration and mission expansion in the Kansas City area that ultimately furthers mental healthcare access to more people throughout our community. Learn more about CMHS’s programs and services at www.thecmhs.com.