SSM Health set to open mental health day stabilization unit

The day facility opening later this year can treat eight patients at a time, offering up to 23 hours of resources and care
Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:00 PM CDT
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RIPON, Wis. (WBAY) - A new facility, to help those in mental health crisis, is set to open later this year in Ripon. The mental health day stabilization unit, at SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital, is the first-of-its-kind facility in the state.

The new service was supported by a more than $150,000 Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Grant.

SSM Health is taking a new approach to how it helps patients with mental health issues.

According to Sue Anderson, SSM Health Wisconsin Regional President, “This new and innovative program, right here in Ripon, reflects our goal within SSM Health to talk more openly about mental health and shift the culture. People need to understand that it’s okay to not be okay and this unit will help with that.”

The mental health day stabilization unit will be a place, for those in mental health crisis -- who don’t qualify medically for hospitalization - to seek care and treatment. These patients are not suicidal, they’re not homicidal, but they need help and either can’t get in to see a care provider for months --- or are forced to wait in hospital emergency rooms for hours on end. The day stabilization unit will eliminate the wait.

“The goal was to provide some alternatives to emergency rooms and to be able to provide some urgent care resources and to be able to meet those needs when they come in,” says Tiffany Park, Director of Behavioral Health Hospital-Based services with SSM Heath.

In the relaxed, home-like setting, patients will be given an initial assessment. They’ll speak with counselors or therapists, and be put in group counseling sessions. Patients in the day stabilization unit stay for less than 24 hours.

The idea is to offer assistance in resolving their immediate crisis, while educating patients about ongoing services. Parker adds, “Our hope is at least, in this type of program, to expose them to what they have - what possibilities they have. What are different resources available and how do we kind of transition them into each level of care and expose them to what is available in their community.”

While the facility is ready, SSM is still hiring staff for the day stabilization unit. The hope is to have the unit operational before the end of the year.

The day stabilization unit will open later this year and can have up to 8 patients at a time.