Bucks County will be the home to a pioneering crisis stabilization center designed to aid residents grappling with behavioral health challenges, including mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities.
Recently, officials from Lenape Valley Foundation, Doylestown Health, Bucks County Department of Behavioral Health/Developmental Programs, Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Magellan Behavioral Health, and NAMI gathered in Doylestown Township to announce the new crisis stabilization center.
Once operational, the Lenape Valley Foundation, known for their work assisting those with mental health, substance use, and developmental challenges, will run the facility.
The center will have space for phone interventions, mobile crisis services, stabilization units that use the “living room model,” short-term crisis residential treatment facilities, withdraw management, and secured crisis stabilization units, separate areas for kids and adults, welcoming features and decor, and a sallyport for involuntary drop offs.
The facility will be 22,000 square feet and will stand adjacent to the existing Lenape Valley Foundation site on the Doylestown Hospital grounds.
“This new center will bring together the various types of services that an individual in crisis needs, so we can get the full picture of this human being and help them on their journey to recovery,” said Sharon Curran, CEO of the Lenape Valley Foundation. “Even though that just makes sense, that is not the way things work today. And we’ll do it all in a calming, home-like atmosphere in a culture of nonviolence.”
The center, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, will complement existing crisis unit services and infrastructure.
Currently, local emergency rooms are the primary destination for those facing behavioral health crises in Bucks County.
Jim Brexler, CEO of Doylestown Health, highlighted the challenges of addressing behavioral health issues and people in crisis in bustling ER environments, noting it can increase an individual’s distress.
Designed for 24-hour observation, treatment, and supervision, the crisis stabilization center aim to either prevent or alleviate behavioral health emergencies or curtail severe symptoms linked to mental health or substance use.
“The hospital, Lenape Valley, Drug and Alcohol, the county, we came together and said, ‘Let’s blow this up. Let’s think about, what’s the ideal design, not what’s an incremental fix,’” said Brexler.
Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia recalled the 1980s’ collapse of mental health and addiction care infrastructure, with recent events like the pandemic and the ongoing opioid crisis further underscoring the demand for more facilities.
“There are a lot of people suffering out there, and I’m just happy to say, help is on the way,” Ellis-Marseglia said.
All three Bucks County Commissioners – two Democrats and one Republican – have been supportive of the project.
Rachael Neff, Bucks County’s director of human services, described the center as being open 24/7 for all to combat mental health and substance use disorders.
The final price hasn’t been announced, but funding for the facility will draw from various sources, including the national opioid settlement, the American Rescue Plan Act, and state funds, according to officials.