Crisis center E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

Seattle where the city has opened a 16-bed crisis center facility designed for adults experiencing a mental-health crisis, including those accused of minor crimes. The Crisis Diversion Center will give police and paramedics a place to bring people where they can connect with mental-health experts and Americans are nothing if not adaptable.

You see that trait full force in services and receive medications.

The program's origins date to 2006, when politicians, law-enforcement and mental-health experts across King County began looking for alternatives for dealing with the severely mentally ill, other than jail or hospitals.

The Center is expected to cost $3.5 million annually. "In law enforcement this is one of the big challenges ... to deal with effectively, more appropriately with folks who are in behavioral health crisis," Seattle police Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said.

"Places like Harborview are overextended with folks who are decompensating and the jail, which is not a mental health facility."

According to county statistics, the average length of stay in the King County Jail for felony inmates is 24 days, compared with 158 days for mentally ill inmates.

The cost of incarcerating an unstable, mentally ill inmate in the jail's psychiatric unit is about $300 a day, as opposed to $95 per day for housing in the general housing area.

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