New facility would keep mental health patients out of jails

crisis treatment center

NewsChannel 5 NASHVILLE, Kyle Horan — A new mental health facility in Nashville would provide a place for police officers to take people in states of crisis rather than putting them directly in jail.

The Crisis Treatment Center opens for the first time on Saturday, but treatment for people suffering from mental health emergencies are already seen at Metro’s Mental Health Cooperative.

“Right now, 80 folks a month are brought to our facility rather than being brought to booking,” said Adam Graham, Director of Emergency Psychiatric Services for MHC. “A lot of the time someone could get picked up for a relatively minor charge of trespassing, obstructing a passageway, disorderly conduct, and that behavior is being fueled by psychiatric symptoms and those are things that we can treat. So, rather than taking them to jail where they can stay 8 to 12 hours and then get released, we’re saying hey bring them to us, let us start treatment. So, we can get to the root problem that’s driving that type of behavior.”

The center will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has a side entrance for police officers to bring people who are in need of services.

“Our main goal is to be faster and easier to operate with than booking. Right now it takes about 30 minutes to book somebody, and so we want to get police back in the streets in less than ten. Right now, about 15 minutes is our average in terms in police officers staying with us and then going back to what they do best,” said Graham.

A grand opening for the facility happened Tuesday morning. The facility took under a year to build from groundbreaking and the new building will significantly expand MHC staff’s ability to treat patients.

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