Ulster unveils new mobile mental health crisis unit

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KINGSTON – Ulster County officials unveiled a new Mobile Mental Health Crisis Unit.
A total of $700,000 was provided by the state Office of Mental Health.
County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith and County Executive Michael Hein announced the new unit on Tuesday.
“It took a fair amount of work to make sure we have this team,” Smith said.  “Over the years the state has cut our funding for mental health services by about 50 percent, and as a result we developed a gap in the system, connecting the community with immediate mental health service care.”
She said having someone to talk to on the phone and help sort things out, come to their home, school or workplace, see that person in crisis emotionally and psychologically and make a professional determination may be the best course of action for the individual.
“Hopefully, the team will be able to deescalate the situation, so that the individual can remain in their place, in their home, in their school safely and then connect that individual to ongoing care services in the community in the days that follow,” Smith said.  “There may be times when that individual may have to go to the emergency room or hospital.”
The number to call is 844-277-4820; however, 911 and other first responders will also have the capability to connect to the same services.
Trained teams will be provided to the county by Access Supports for Living, Inc., a private organization based in Middletown, NY. The program will be available between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. in the Kingston, Saugerties, Woodstock and New Paltz areas, until going county-wide later this year.
Estimated ongoing annual costs are about $400,000 per year, which will come from state aid. Similar crisis intervention services are currently available in Albany, Orange and Dutchess counties.
For more info, visit http://accesssupports.org .