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New Denver center offers alternative to jail for people experiencing behavioral crisis

The 28,741-square-foot facility will be open 24/7 and provide urgently needed services to help people recover from a behavioral health crisis.

DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) announced details Thursday on a new facility for people experiencing a behavioral health crisis.  

The Behavioral Health Solutions Center is located at 2929 West 10th Ave. in Denver's Sun Valley neighborhood, and is described by DDPHE as "an innovative, treatment-focused, voluntary safe haven." 

The 28,741-square-foot facility will be open 24/7 and provide needed services to help people recover from a behavioral health crisis by offering short inpatient stays on the first floor and transitioning to treatment of up to 30 days on the third floor, according to DDPHE.

“Denver continues to innovate with behavioral health solutions designed to get people the right care at the right time, care that has become even more urgent since the pandemic,” Mayor Hancock said in a news release.

One in six people experiences a mental health issue each year in the state, Hancock said, and the new facility aims to divert those crises away from unnecessary jail time or putting people on a psychiatric hold. 

“Previously, first responders often had to rely on hospital ERs or jails when handling behavioral health calls,” Bob McDonald, DDPHE’s Executive Director, said. “Because the aptly named Solutions Center houses a full range of critical services under one roof, it takes the pressure off first responders to try to manage a behavioral health crisis in the field.”

The Mental Health Center of Denver will operate the crisis stabilization center under a contract with DDPHE. It will be staffed by 59 clinicians, nurses, peer support specialists, residential counselors and support staff.

DDPHE said the Solutions Center offers three components for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis: 

•    Drop-Off & Crisis Triage Center - First responders can bring people experiencing a behavioral health crisis here for immediate care. Only first responders (law enforcement and fire department/EMT units) or designated mental health professionals can refer someone to the Solutions Center. There is no public drop-off or walk up access.

•    16-bed Crisis Stabilization Clinic – The clinic will accommodate voluntary stays for up to five days for people receiving medication, evaluation, and therapeutic services.

•    30-bed Transitional Shelter - Transitional housing for up to 30 days for people recovering from a crisis. During this time, staff work to connect individuals to community resources to assist with their successful reintegration into the community, including transportation, housing, and ongoing care.

The facility’s first-floor Drop-Off & Crisis Triage Center and third-floor Transitional Shelter are preparing to open for services the week of May 17, DDPHE said. The short-term Crisis Stabilization Clinic will open pending Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment licensing.

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