Two walk-in crisis centers coming to Luzerne County

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is a need for more mental health services across the country, and right here in our area as efforts are underway to open two new walk-in crisis centers in Luzerne County.

Building healthier relationships and stronger communities: That’s the mission of the Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a not-for-profit organization based in Wilkes-Barre.

“Most people will know us through 211 and Helpline, which Helpline has been around for 52 years now. And that’s a 24-hour, 365 days a year service where people can call in and get referrals and information support, as well as crisis services,” explained Sean Gerow, CEO of the Family Service Association of NEPA.

Plans are moving forward to open and operate what’s called a “Crisis Receiving and Stabilization Unit.” It’s a walk-in center designed to help people in need without having to go to the emergency room.

“Not everyone needs a hospital. This will be a living room style model, where people will come in, instead of seeing hospital beds and white coats, they’re gonna see lounge chairs, couches, maybe a big screen TV where they can kind of relax,” Gerow added.

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It’s all about increasing access to the in-demand services, and the center will be a hub for on-the-go care.

“Even if people don’t come to the center, we will have mobile teams dispatched from these centers that will actually go out into the community to provide crisis services,” said Tara Fox the Administrator of Luzerne and Wyoming Counties Mental Health & Developmental Services.

While the center won’t open for at least a year, resources are available for people who need services now.

“22 percent of our residents are struggling with mental health, and we’re here to help them and hopefully reduce the stigma associated with accessing mental health services,” Fox added.

The second location is slated for Hazleton and will be operated by Northeast Counseling Services.

If you or someone you know needs mental health crisis services contact Helpline at 570-829-1341.

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