On Monday, a 16-bed facility designed for adults in Seattle’s King County who are experiencing a mental-health crisis, including those accused of minor crimes, will open near the Chinatown International District, reports the Seattle Times. The Crisis Diversion Center will give police and paramedics a place to bring people where they can connect with mental-health experts and services and receive medications.
“It’s a much friendlier and a much warmer setting; the professionals will all be there to help them to recovery,” said Amnon Shoenfeld, director of mental health, chemical abuse and dependency services for King County. “The jail is about punitive and control, and the hospitals are a rushed atmosphere; they have to handle them quickly and move them out.” Bill Hobson of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, which has worked with the region’s homeless and mentally ill for more than 30 years, says the new facility will be “a therapeutic alternative” to jail or the emergency rooms. The three-pronged program, called the Crisis Solutions Center, is expected to serve some 3,600 people a year.