Sarpy County Decides to Find New Site for Crisis Center

When the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners announced in February that they were purchas­ing land to build a mental health crisis stabilization center, it started a countywide conversation about mental health and the lack of treat­ment options in the area.

The county received hundreds of calls, emails and messages of support as well as first-hand ac­counts from individuals and fami­lies struggling with mental health issues, according to a Sarpy County news release last Thursday. 

“The response was overwhelm­ingly positive,” Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly said in the release. “People recognize that we’re dealing with a crisis, and they’re happy to see Sarpy take a leadership role.” 

Throughout the process, Sarpy County’s Mental Health Leadership Team met with a number of poten­tial partners, including health care providers, service organizations and donors.

Because of these ongoing con­versations, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners has decided against purchasing the six-acre plot of land near 25th Street and Highway 370. 

“From the beginning, we wanted to remain flexible enough to ac­commodate any and all good ideas for the crisis stabilization center,” Kelly said. “We are close to formal­izing a partnership that has shifted our focus away from a stand-alone facility to one built in conjunction with other organizations in our community. We believe this option will better serve the needs of Sarpy County as well as the goals of our partners.”

The county’s purchase agree­ment for the land near Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue included a 120-day due diligence period that al­lowed the county to withdraw from the purchase without any financial penalties. 

“The location for the stabiliza­tion center may be changing, but our commitment to mental health is not,” Kelly said. “We cannot sit idly by while our jails and emergency rooms serve as de facto mental health wards. We earmarked a mil­lion dollars to purchase land for the stabilization center, so that’s money we can put toward the facility itself. With the help of Region 6 and other community partners, we’ll be able to help people from across the re­gion who are experiencing mental health crises.” 

The stabilization center will be available to all law enforcement agencies in the Region 6 service area, which includes Sarpy, Cass, Douglas, Washington and Dodge counties. Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis said the center would allow persons with a mental illness to re­ceive proper treatment and avoid incarceration, furthering Sarpy County’s goal to decriminalize mental illness.

– Sarpy County

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