EAST BREMERTON — The new Kitsap County Crisis Triage Center will soon be open and will provide an alternative to incarceration and hospitalization.
The center is set to open on Aug. 1, but the public was able to get a sneak-peek during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 24 led by Joe Roszak, the CEO of Kitsap Mental Health Services, which will operate the facility. It is located at 1975 NE Fuson Road in Bremerton.
The center is a 16-bed facility that will provide round-the-clock services intended for adults with mentall illnesses and substance abuse disorders.
“We’re proud that our county has the foresight … to create a center where people in crisis, but who do not meet the standards to be involuntarily detained, can go for 24/7 care until the crisis resolves,” Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder said.
Engaging in the services at the center is voluntary. The person must be experiencing a current crisis, be under behavioral control and be able to transport themselves independently. The facility defines a crisis situation as “a situation in which a person’s internal coping skills and external resources are insufficient to deal with their current problems,” such as a person with suicidal ideation who does not need to be detained but also does not believe they can keep themselves safe and are willing to seek help.
The center will also be a useful tool for law enforcement. Persons in need can be referred through law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency responders, the Kitsap County jail, Kitsap Mental Health Services and designated crisis responders.
“They knew we needed a crisis triage center to satisfy a gap in services that we do not provide,” said Lt. Penny Sapp of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office of the driving forces behind the new facility.
The opening of the new facility was lauded by the numerous dignitaries in attendance on July 24, which included Kitsap County Commissioners Gelder, Ed Wolfe and Charlotte Garrido; Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler; Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson; state Reps. Michelle Caldier, Jesse Young and Sherry Appleton; and state Sen. Christine Rolfes.
“Today, we join the fight for better mental health and safer, stronger communities,” Rolfes said.
Entry to the facility begins with a mental health assessment by a professional. Additional services provided at the facility include therapy, case management, peer counseling, chemical dependency screenings, group activites and referall to other services and housing.
Opening concurrently is the 16-bed, 30-day voluntary facility for Kitsap-area adults aged 18 and older called the Pacific Hope and Recovery Center.
The recovery center is intended for those with a substance abuse disorder with a co-occuring mental lillness or simply a substance use disorder that is best served being treated in a residential facility. Potential clients must be assessed by a KMHS professional beforing being admitted and must be medically stable — the residential facility is not certified for detox.
The opening of both facilities is not expected to put an end to construction activity on the KMHS campus. Two awards from Washington state totaling over $2.2 million to partially fund a new 16-bed Peninsula Evaluation and Treatment Center and provide an additional bed to the current treatment center.
The KMHS Board of Directors is committing $1 million to the Peninsula center, while $1.95 million will come from the commerce award. The remainder of the $5.9 million project is anticipated to be picked up in a 2019 state legislature request. Estimated completion date of the Peninsula center is July 28, 2020 with operations commencing Aug. 31, 2020.