Dakota County has started work on a new center that will provide treatment services for residents struggling with a mental health crisis.
The county and Guild, an experienced mental health service provider, are partnering on the Crisis and Recovery Center. It will provide adult mental health services ranging from assessments to short-term residential treatment and stabilization within the community.
“It really does takes folks at the very darkest moments in their lives, when they need to be closest to their families, and it keeps them close to home," Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins said at an Oct. 3 groundbreaking event. “It gives them the sort of service that they need in order to turn the corner and move in a positive direction."
The center will be built near the county's Northern Service Center in West St. Paul. The site is near public transit, government services and community support programs. The county will own the center, and Guild will provide the residential services. On-site staff will include licensed mental health professionals, registered nurses, peer support specialists, therapeutic recreation specialists and a house manager.
Guild CEO Julie Bluhm said the organization has had a long partnership with the county and community, having provided similar care in South St. Paul since 1982. The new center will allow Guild to serve people in new and different ways and provide an even higher quality of care.
“Dakota County's support in this project is a model because we need these services in all of our communities," Bluhm said.
The county and Guild worked with the City of West St. Paul to build support and secure zoning approval.
West St. Paul City Council member Wendy Berry said this work is not new to the city, where firefighters, police and other leaders have worked with the City of South St. Paul and the county to focus on mental health concerns. Community members of different ages and backgrounds support the new center and agree it is needed, Berry said.
Project funding includes $4.6 million in federal funds, a nearly $3.5 million state grant and $6 million in state bonding. The bonding request was authored by state Sen. Matt Klein and Rep. Mary Frances Clardy.
Klein said he's proud West St. Paul is hosting the center and that the county had the vision to develop the project.
“This is actually going to save lives," Klein said.
State Rep. Mary Frances Clardy said the project is personal for her and others, who have family members who have struggled with mental health.
“This is crucial. This is real," Clardy said.
The center is being built with energy-saving features including rooftop solar panels to generate energy on-site, a geothermal system to heat and cool the building and native plantings to reduce irrigation and maintenance.
For more information, visit the Crisis and Recovery Center page.