Iowa City Mental Health Clinic Helps 1,000+ in First Year
GuideLink Center in Johnson County opened its doors a little over a year ago.
Due to high demand in the mental health counseling space, it opened its doors to the public on July 1 of last year.
Executive Director of the operation, Abbey Ferenzi said this to KCRG:
We started off just taking referrals from local law enforcement and the Mobile Crisis Team. But by July 1, we opened to 24/7 walk-in services. ...We offer 24/7 mental health and substance use services, and immediate access to those services.
The aforementioned demand along with the availability made the counseling center a popular place, as they helped over 1,000 people in their first year. Ferenzi added this:
We started off with 30, 40, 50 walk-ins starting in July and August. We jumped, from December to January, from 68 walk-ins to 109 walk-ins.
In situations where police have someone who is clearly intoxicated but they're unsure what to do with the individual, the GuideLink Center can serve as
a jail alternative for local law enforcement. If they encounter someone that doesn’t really need to go to jail, they don’t necessarily think they need a public intox ticket, but they need somewhere safe for them to be. Before it was either the ER, or nowhere.
As the staff continues to grow and the awareness of the facility expands, Ferenzi believes that they will see an increase in traffic over the next year:
In this last year, we’ve served over 1,000 individuals and admitted almost 900. I’m hoping in this next year we could increase that by 50 percent.
The center's site says the following in regards to who can stop in: "You do not have to be a resident of Johnson County. Individuals over 18 years old will be provided care regardless of their ability to pay. Insurance may be billed if available; deductibles and co-pays may apply."
The site also lists the following as examples of "the situations in which an individual, their family, or local law enforcement might contact us for help."
- People with personal stresses resulting in mental health or substance use crisis
- An individual who is in the midst of a psychiatric or psychological crisis from a mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts who needs a quick response
- An adult who is intoxicated and needs a safe place to sober up, but does not need to be in the ER or in jail
- A mother who is experiencing a postpartum depression crisis and doesn’t know where to go
- A family member who needs assistance in the middle of the night with an adult who is having a substance use crisis
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