State and local officials and leaders, and Mid-South Health Systems staff, join Gov. Asa Hutchinson in cutting the ribbon in front of the Craighead County Crisis Stabilization Unit located in Jonesboro.

Craighead County Regional CSU opens in Jonesboro

Story and Photos by Holland Doran AAC Communications Coordinator

Judge Marvin Day, Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd, and Midsouth Health Systems Executive Director Ruth Al- lison Dover spoke to a large crowd of state legislators, and local and county officials and leaders. Te new CSU will serve 20 counties in Northeast Arkan- sas. Law enforcement from each of the 20 counties can refer and transport those in a mental health crisis to the CSU. CSUs also operate in Sebastian, Pulaski, and Washington counties. Te Craighead County CSU is the last facility au- thorized by Act 423 — legislation that passed with bipartisan support in March 2017. Te act established the four CSUs and mandated crisis intervention training to teach law enforcement officers to recognize and deescalate a mental-illness crisis. At the ceremony, Gov. Hutchinson said the CSU is “an


important step in bridging a gap between communities in Northeast Arkansas.”

“Tis unit is designed to more effectively respond to indi- viduals suffering a mental health crisis and ensure they receive the services they need,” he said. “Te partnership between the state and the four counties of this pilot program is on the forefront of efforts in our state to help those in a mental health crisis. I believe in the promise of these units to better serve the people of our state.” Craighead County Judge Marvin Day thanked Gov.

Hutchinson for fully supporting the CSUs. “Tanks to our governor, some Arkansans will receive the

appropriate assistance to help them overcome their obstacles,” Day said. “Te governor has made this moment happen here in northeast Arkansas.”


he Craighead County Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), the state’s fourth unit, was unveiled to the public during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 9. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Craighead County

Sheriff Marty Boyd said the plans for the CSU have been in the works for four years. He said he is excited to see the plans become reality. “If we can see someone that has an illness and step in front and make a difference in that person’s life and do the moral thing and get them treatment and get them diagnosed instead of charged and incarcerated time and time again — that’s what this is about. Tat’s what I think we’ll see take place,” Boyd said. Midsouth Health Systems is operating the facility, which accepted its first patient Oct. 8, less than a month after its ribbon cutting. With 16 beds, Midsouth Health Systems is prepared to accommodate 100 admissions per month, Midsouth Health Systems Executive Director Ruth Allison Dover said. “Tis CSU will offer a professionally staffed facility for

residents who are experiencing an acute mental health crisis,” she said. “CSUs provide hospital diversion services in a safe environment with onsite psychiatric and co-occurring sub- stance abuse services.” Dover thanked Craighead County, Day, Boyd and the

Craighead County quorum court for their “steadfast leader- ship in making this project happen.” “Judge Day and Sheriff Boyd have been resolute in their advo- cacy for a diversion program such as this crisis unit,” she said. Dover thanked law enforcement for the “groundwork” they have done by completing 40 hours of crisis interven- tion training. Almost 100 officers in the area have com- pleted the training. “Tose officers are all trained to recognize signs and symp- toms of mental illness and respond with diversion instead of jail when treatment is needed,” Dover said. Te 20 counties the CSU will serve are Clay, Craighead,

Crittenden, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jack- son, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp, St. Francis, White, and Woodruff.


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