Linn County Mental Health Access Center will begin walk-in hours next week

Linn County Mental Health Access Center, 501 13th St. NW in Cedar Rapids — Jessica Abdoney/Little Village

The Linn County Mental Health Access Center, 501 13th St NW, will be open for walk-in hours starting Monday.

Adults experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis will be able to receive services at the center without an appointment Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the county announced in a news release. Individuals needing services outside these hours can call Foundation 2’s mobile crisis team at 319-362-2174.

The county held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and soft opening for the $3.5 million center in March. The access center has been open for its first clients and adding services since then. The goal is for the access center to be open on a walk-in basis 24 hours a day, all days of the week.

Individuals don’t need a referral and anyone can walk into the building. Director Erin Foster told Little Village earlier this year that the facility does not define “crisis,” because “everyone’s crisis looks different, and it is not up to us to determine what someone’s crisis is.”

Services are provided by AbbeHealth, Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC), Foundation 2 and Penn Center, and include:

• Crisis triage and counseling (Foundation 2)

• Mental health evaluations (Abbe Health)

• Mental health prescriber appointments (Abbe Health)

• Peer support (Abbe Health)

• Crisis stabilization (Penn Center)

• Substance use disorder patient support (8 a.m.-noon)

• Substance use disorder clinical support (on-call)

Foster said having all of those services and providers under one roof allows for a better chance of getting patients connected to what they need since they can see multiple providers and get multiple referrals in one visit.

Access centers are designed to be a “quick stay,” with visits ranging from a few hours to a few days, Foster said. Individuals are welcome to come as many times as they need.

The access center receives funding from the East Central Mental Health Region, which allows it to serve individuals in Linn County and residents from eight nearby counties, including Benton, Bremer, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Iowa, Johnson and Jones counties.

There are some limitations: the access center won’t provide services to individuals in need of immediate medical care, those who are violent at arrival or immediately prior to arrival, or anyone under the age of 18.

A living room area in the Linn County Mental Health Access Center. — photo provided and taken by Erin Foster

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