County Health Building

Whatcom County will break ground on its new 24,450-square-foot Irongate district facility Monday.

This will serve mental health, behavioral needs

WHATCOM — County officials will break ground on an expanded Crisis Stabilization Facility at a ceremony starting at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30.

The new space of  24,450 square feet in the Irongate district (2026 Division St.) of Bellingham will more than double the capacity of the county’s current facility and expand behavioral health services available to those in need of acute care.

Construction of the facility has been made possible by a $7 million allocation from the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Also, the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization, which oversees crisis services in northwest Washington, contributed $2.5 million and Whatcom County’s Behavioral Health Fund provided $3 million.

The current Crisis Stabilization Facility has five beds to serve clients with acute mental health concerns and eight beds for substance use withdrawal services. The expanded facility will have 16 beds for mental health services and 16 beds for withdrawal services.

The new facility will also provide medically monitored acute substance withdrawal services for clients with potential complications associated with withdrawal.

Axpanding the current Crisis Stabilization Facility was identified as a key priority by the Whatcom County Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force that continues to meet, looking at jail alternatives and diversionin the county.

The increased capacity at the facility is expected to enable law enforcement to offer alternatives to arrest and incarceration by better linking individuals in need to appropriate behavioral healthcare. It will also reduce the number of individuals in crisis who seek treatment at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s emergency department, with cost savings for the community as a whole.

The Crisis Stabilization Facility offers voluntary services to adults experiencing acute mental health or substance use challenges and helps them restore and stabilize their health. In addition to managing immediate crises, the facility provides other behavioral health services such as medication-assisted withdrawal and connection to community services and is often a first step into the coordinated continuum of behavioral healthcare provided by many local agencies.

Speakers will include Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws, County Council member Barry Buchanan, county IPR task force co-chair Jack Hovenier, and Health Department human services manager Anne Deacon.

For more information, contact Deacon at 360-778-6002 or adeacon@co.whatcom.wa.us.services for clients with potential complications associated with

Expanding the current Crisis Stabilization Facility was identified as a key priority by the Whatcom County Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force that continues to meet, looking at jail alternatives and diversionin the county.

The increased capacity at the facility is expected to enable law enforcement to offer alternatives to arrest and incarceration by better linking individuals in need to appropriate behavioral healthcare. It will also reduce the number of individuals in crisis who seek treatment at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s emergency department, with cost savings for the community as a whiole.

The Crisis Stabilization Facility offers voluntary services to adults experiencing acute mental health or substance use challenges and helps them restore and stabilize their health. In addition to managing immediate crises, the facility provides other behavioral health services such as medication-assisted withdrawal and connection to community services and is often a first step into the coordinated continuum of behavioral healthcare provided by many local agencies.

Speakers will include Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws, County Council member Barry Buchanan, county IPR task force co-chair Jack Hovenier, and Health Department human services manager Anne Deacon.

For more information, contact Deacon at 360-778-6002 or adeacon@co.whatcom.wa.us.