Galveston County to open new mental health crisis center

Mental health generic (Pixabay)

GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston County is set to open a new mental health crisis center in 2024.

On May 26, the County Commissioners approved the transfer of $8 million to the Gulf Coast Center to cover the total estimated cost of building the center, which will be the first of its kind in the county. On July 24, commissioners said they contracted with Huitt-Zollars for architecture/construction management on the center.

The center will be in the former Galveston County Health District 4C’s Clinic in the City of La Marque and is expected to be operational by next year, a news release from the county said.

According to the release, County Judge Mark Henry and commissioners worked with State Representative Dr. Greg Bonnen and other local officials during the 88th Texas Legislative Session to secure $4 million a year ($8 million in total) in state funding for mental health crisis services.

The new center is supposed to provide Galveston County and the Gulf Coast Center the ability to assist people experiencing mental health crises that need stabilization and connection to a network of services after appropriate observation and assessment by a team of clinicians.

“This will be a revolutionary change to how individuals experiencing mental health crisis receive treatment and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system,” the release said. “Without the Mental Health Crisis Center, justice involved persons in mental health crisis are taken to jail or hospital emergency rooms as the only viable options for stabilization and observation.”

The new center will have 10 extended observation unit (EOU) beds to support the rapid stabilization and delivery of targeted services to adults with a mental health diagnosis for up to 72 hours. It will also feature 10 “dedicated beds to respite,” officials said.

Clinical staff in the facility will reportedly work to coordinate care in the community, medication management, provide discharge medications, and/or if necessary, coordinate an increased level of care, including hospitalization.

“Law enforcement personnel will also be able to return faster to the field by more efficiently dropping a person in crisis at the center as opposed to the current system of having to transport a person in mental health crisis to the County Jail or St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston,” the release said.

For more important information on this project, click here.

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