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Gunnison Valley Health to Launch Mobile Crisis Service on July 1.

In Gunnison County, the behavioral health needs of the community continue to outpace available resources especially in crisis situations. Gunnison Valley Health, with funding and support from numerous state and local agencies, continues to address this need through the addition of a mobile crisis service beginning on July 1.

Executive Director of the Foundation and Community Well-Being Coordinator, Jenny Birnie, said the new service would decrease the number of behavioral health clients admitted to the emergency room while simultaneously preserving valuable law enforcement resources.

“We have seen a massive increase in the number of people entering the emergency room because of behavioral health issues,” Birnie said. “We believe that adding this service to our behavioral health department will have a significant and positive impact for our community members and first responders.”

Gunnison Valley Health contracted with Rocky Mountain Health Plans for the mobile crisis response to become a provider of Colorado Crisis Services. The contract ensures that a trained mental health clinician from Gunnison Valley Health is available to respond to crisis calls in Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties 24/7.

“The Colorado Crisis Hotline will be the initial point of contact for each person requesting mobile crisis services in Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties,” said Gunnison Valley Health’s Director of Behavioral Health Kimberly Behounek. “Their experience, reputation and resources enable us to offer a more robust and comprehensive service to our community.”

If a person is in crisis, they can call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255. Their trained professionals provide free, immediate and confidential help 24/7, 365 days a year. Colorado Crisis Services will assess the situation and coordinate with local crisis providers, law enforcement and emergency medical services to ensure that the right people are responding to the situation.

Previously, crisis services in Gunnison County were provided by The Center for Mental Health who have collaborated with Gunnison Valley Health to ensure a smooth transition minimizing disruption for local first responders and community members alike. The Center for Mental Health will continue to provide behavioral health support to the community through their local outpatient services in addition to the crisis stabilization unit and walk-in center in Montrose.

“Everyone in Gunnison County is committed to addressing the behavioral health needs of our community and it is incredible to work so collaboratively with funders and providers to expand resources,” Birnie said. “I am proud to be a part of this community and want to thank the numerous individuals and agencies who are working together to make this all possible.”

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