‘The county jail is not the right spot for some;’ New crisis center prepares to assist community

A new facility looking to help break the cycle of arresting people who call police for help with 24/7 mental health care in Montgomery County was unveiled Monday morning.

Recovering Innovations International held its ribbon cutting for the Montgomery County Crisis Receiving Center Monday and the celebration off of Hopeland Street brought out members of the community, as well as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

“If your son or daughter or family member is in crisis, they have a place to go,” DeWine said to the crowd.

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DeWine said Montgomery County is leading the way in trying to set up a behavioral health system that looks the same as the medical health system.

“A crisis line, mobile teams that can come out like two old friends and a facility that is accessible,” David Covington, President and CEO of Recovering Innovations International, described.

Recovering Innovations International is the private contractor that spent their money to build the new facility. They now have a contract with the county to provide the first step of care for patients in crisis.

“They may or may not be able to follow orders, to get into a police vehicle, to say their name and address,” Helen Jones-Kelley said.

Jones-Kelley, executive director or Montgomery County’ Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS), said she’s seen incidents like one including a young man’s mother who called for help for her son. He appeared to be suffering a mental health crisis, but as they talked to him, he lashed out and stabbed an officer. Even if he hadn’t he’d likely still been headed behind bars.

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“We know the county jail is not the right spot for some individuals,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said.

Recovering Innovations International paid to build the building, but the community-wide effort paid for crisis services in 2022. 76 percent was federal money, mostly from disaster recovery funds and suicide prevention efforts and the other 24 percent came locally from the county human services levy and state of Ohio crisis funds. It’s al led to a place where people in crisis can be observed and assessed in calm surroundings, then connected to longer-term care options.

While parking spots and signs are already in place, there will still be 30 days or more before the center is fully operational.