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New Madison Behavioral Health Resources Center To Link Patients With Care

Dane County Program Will Address Rising Suicides, Addiction

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Office buiilding exterior
A new Behavioral Health Resources Center is opening in at 818 West Badger Road on Madison’s south side to help people find available counseling and treatment for mental health and addiction. Local officials say the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for such services. Shamane Mills/WPR

A new service focusing on mental health and addiction will begin operating next month in Dane County, lining up recovery and counseling for those seeking help.

Currently, people can get information and referrals to health and social service organizations by calling 211, but officials say the new effort will have narrower focus. The Behavioral Health Resource Center will begin operating Nov. 23 on Madison’s south side. It brings together private health providers and insurers along with community nonprofits to better coordinate care across different health care systems.

“We could have the best services in the world … but if you can’t access them, they’re going to do you no good,” said Beth Lonergan, director of behavioral health services at UW Health.

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Across Wisconsin, there’s a shortage of mental health services. More than half the adults who need mental health treatment aren’t getting it, according to a 2017 Wisconsin Department of Health Serivces report. The percentage is even higher — at 78 percent — when it comes to those who can’t access addiction treatment.

Dane County will run the center which will include a social work supervisor and be staffed with clinically licensed behavioral health specialists, case managers, and a peer support coordinator.

“When we look at the situation with COVID-19 and the extra stress that it is causing, we know that suicides are up, we know that people are suffering from trauma, we know people are lonely and are just stressed out in general. We need to do everything we can to make behavioral health services available,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi during a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday outside the center’s location at 818 W. Badger Road.

Often those in a mental health crisis don’t know where to turn, Parisi said. When people contact the center they will be connected to appropriate services and there will be follow up for 30 days.[[{“fid”:”1365386″,”view_mode”:”embed_portrait”,”fields”:{“format”:”embed_portrait”,”alignment”:”right”,”field_image_caption[und][0][value]”:”%3Cp%3EDane%20County%20Emergency%20Management%20Director%20Charles%20Tubbs%E2%80%99%20speaks%20at%20a%20ribbon-cutting%20Oct.%2019%2C%202020%20at%20the%20site%20of%20a%20new%20Behavioral%20Health%20Resources%20Center%20opening%20on%20Madison’s%20south%20side.%20His%20son%2C%20CJ%2C%20died%20from%20an%20accidental%20overdose%20in%202019.%20%3Cem%3EShamane%20Mills%2FWPR%3C%2Fem%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%0A”,”field_image_caption[und][0][format]”:”full_html”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Charles Tubbs speaks at a podium”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Charles Tubbs speaks at a podium”},”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“2”:{“format”:”embed_portrait”,”alignment”:”right”,”field_image_caption[und][0][value]”:”%3Cp%3EDane%20County%20Emergency%20Management%20Director%20Charles%20Tubbs%E2%80%99%20speaks%20at%20a%20ribbon-cutting%20Oct.%2019%2C%202020%20at%20the%20site%20of%20a%20new%20Behavioral%20Health%20Resources%20Center%20opening%20on%20Madison’s%20south%20side.%20His%20son%2C%20CJ%2C%20died%20from%20an%20accidental%20overdose%20in%202019.%20%3Cem%3EShamane%20Mills%2FWPR%3C%2Fem%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%0A”,”field_image_caption[und][0][format]”:”full_html”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Charles Tubbs speaks at a podium”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Charles Tubbs speaks at a podium”}},”link_text”:false,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Charles Tubbs speaks at a podium”,”title”:”Charles Tubbs speaks at a podium”,”class”:”media-element file-embed-portrait media-wysiwyg-align-right”,”data-delta”:”2″}}]]

The center was launched with a $1.5 million county fund honoring the memory of Dane County Emergency Management Director Charles Tubbs’ son, who died from an accidental overdose in the summer of 2019.

“Our son CJ lives on despite the tragic ending to his life,” Tubbs said. “We were able to donate his organs so at least five people are still alive today.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness for Dane County praised the center as a way to get people help sooner.

Anna Moffit, NAMI Dane County executive director, said some people with mental health symptoms can go untreated for years. Representatives from NAMI were part of a workgroup that planned the center, along with Tellurian, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Corrections.

The center shares a building with other Dane County Department of Human Services programs like the Community Restorative Court, Joining Forces for Families, and Immigration Affairs.

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