Bert Nash, O’Connell Children’s Shelter partnering to form youth crisis continuum of care

photo by: Ashley Hocking/Journal-World File Photo

This file photo from January 2018 shows a bench and mural at the second-floor entrance, where administrative offices and services for children and families are housed, at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, 200 Maine St.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and O’Connell Children’s Shelter are partnering to form a new youth crisis continuum of care.

Bert Nash announced the partnership in a news release Tuesday, noting that the collaboration is intended to address the “acute behavioral health needs of youth and families in Douglas County.” The new crisis continuum of care will integrate Bert Nash’s mobile response team, the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County and, eventually, a new youth recovery center planned for 3500 Clinton Place.

“This partnership is a belief that we are better together,” Bert Nash CEO Patrick Schmitz said in the release. “Along with O’Connell Children’s Shelter, we are developing a youth crisis system that will provide immediate support, resources and intervention for youth experiencing crisis situations. Both agencies will work together to provide community-based, wrap-around services for youth and their families.”

The youth recovery center mentioned in the release refers to a proposed facility that, most recently, was granted rezoning approval by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission in late August. The facility would act as a satellite location to Bert Nash offering medical office and therapy spaces, day group therapy and overnight respite care. The rezoning request to “community mental health facility” specifically accommodates overnight stays for mental health services. The next step in the process will be for Bert Nash to submit a site plan application.

The two agencies recently received a $253,561 grant from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services that will go toward hiring a director and program manager for the youth crisis continuum of care. According to the release, the new system of care and facility are intended to be fully operational in early 2025.


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