(June 23, 2021) – The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (Trust) recently awarded two grants totaling $885,000 to support improved response to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis in Anchorage. These grants represent a significant step in efforts led by the Trust, in partnership with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and many community partners, to enhance the current system responding to those in crisis and to provide new and needed crisis stabilization services in southcentral Alaska.
A key focus of this effort is work to implement the Crisis Now model, a continuum of services that are working in many communities across the nation to improve mental health crisis response, prevent suicide, and to reduce the reliance on law enforcement, emergency rooms, and jails when responding to crises. The components of the model include a regional or statewide crisis call center, centrally deployed, 24/7 mobile crisis teams (ideally, a clinician and a peer), as well as 23-hour crisis stabilization centers and short-term (up to 120 hours) crisis residential centers.
The recent grants will support two Trust partners, Providence Health & Services Alaska and Southcentral Foundation, in standing up crisis stabilization services in the Anchorage area. Data has shown that the 23-hour crisis stabilization centers have the capability to resolve crises for a high percentage (90%) of individuals receiving care. Without access to stabilization services, most of these individuals would otherwise be served in higher levels of care such as emergency room departments, in jails, or remain suffering in the community without supports.
The grants include:
· $400,000 to Providence Health & Services Alaska to aid in the development of a 23-hour crisis stabilization service to provide immediate care and an always-available entryway to behavioral health services, a Crisis Residential/short term stabilization service to provide care when an individual needs additional intervention to resolve the crisis beyond the 23-hour stabilization service, and Intensive Case Management to connect clients with appropriate services to improve continuity of treatment.
· $485,000 to Southcentral Foundation to aid in the planning for 23-hour crisis stabilization services for customer-owners in Anchorage. This project is being done in partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and will be located on the Alaska Native Medical Center campus. Case Managers will connect customer-owners to Intensive Case Management or other outpatient services based on their needs.
“Necessary crisis stabilization services currently don’t exist in Anchorage, which means those in crisis can wait hours, days – or worse, in jail – for an appropriate treatment setting,” said Mike Abbott, CEO of the Trust. “We are grateful that Providence Alaska and Southcentral Foundation are willing to work with us and other partners to provide this essential service to help meet the needs of Trust beneficiaries in crisis.”
To learn more about the Trust’s work with partners to improve psychiatric crisis care in Alaska and the Crisis Now model, visit: www.alaskamentalhealthtrust.org/crisisnow.
For more information, contact Allison Biastock, Chief Communications Officer at 907-334-2531, or firstname.lastname@example.org.