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AAC


COVER STORY Washington County


Te Washington County Crisis Stabilization Unit (NWAC- SU) in Fayetteville opened June 14, 2019, and will take resi- dents from Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties. It is located in the former Washington County Emergency


Operations Center, which was renovated for approximately $250,000. Healthcare professionals from Ozark Guidance staff the facility. Ozark Guidance Director of Crisis Stabilization Service Kristen


McAlister says the CSU will have a positive affect on residents. "Tere will be a benefit to the community in diverting indi- viduals from jail who don't need to be there," McAlister said in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article. "It will also benefit


the community by diverting people from emergency rooms and hospitals and getting those people help quickly and ef- ficiently so they can return to their communities."


Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder is confident the


NWACSU will be a “great asset to law enforcement.” “For the first time law enforcement will have a viable option when dealing with someone in crisis,” Helder said. “Prior to the CSU program, officers’ main option was jail. We all know jails are ill equipped to deal with acute mental illness.” Washington County Judge Joseph Wood says the unit has


brought officials and law enforcement together. “We have support from county judges in Benton County,


Madison County and Carroll County,” Wood said. “Te law enforcement community has been very integral and supportive in the preparation of the CSU, and over 140 officers have com- pleted the crisis intervention training.” Judicial Equality for Mental Illness and the University of


Entrance of the Washington County CSU.


Craighead County Te Craighead County CSU doors are not open yet, but they


are set to welcome patients early this fall. Te construction of the facility is $800,000, and will serve


residents in Craighead, Poinsett, Clay, Mississippi, Greene, Randolph, Cross, Phillips, Lawrence and Crittenden counties. Te new facility will be located next to the Craighead County


Jail in Jonesboro, and is partnering with Mid-South Health Sys- tems, which will provide a team of healthcare professionals. Craighead County Judge Marvin Day says residents


have already seen the value of the CSU. “We’ve had an outpouring of support from citizens who have loved ones with mental illnesses such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others like that,” Day said. “Tey don’t want them going to jail. Te CSU is the perfect place to bring them so they can get the treatment and care they need.” Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd, who has been a


part of the project since it began, is thankful for the com- munity support. “We have received good response from our community and have had several business already donate work equip- ment to help with the construction cost of the facility,” Boyd said.


28


Arkansas Substance Abuse and Wellness Department has also shown their support. “Our hope is that patients will receive the necessary treat- ment to stabilize their current situation and that they get re- ferred to a community mental health treatment facility for long-term treatment,” Wood said. “It is also believed that those going to the NWACSU will be a diversion from going to the County jail as they get the treatment they need to ad- dress their mental health.”


Boyd said the facility will allow officers to divert individuals suffering from a mental health crisis from jail to a place where they can receive specialized, one-on-one care. “If we can place someone in the CSU the first time instead of incarceration, they are 70 percent less likely to reoffend and enter the criminal justice system,” Boyd said. “Tis will not only allow our jails to house the people that need to be out of society, but also reduce the cost to our facilities.”


Construction site of the Craighead County CSU. COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2019


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