Center for Mental Health

The Center for Mental Health’s crisis stabilization unit, shown near the time of its grand opening, in 2019. The crisis clinic is temporarily closed, with those in need of its services being directed to Montrose Memorial Hospital.

The Center for Mental Health is diverting its crisis center patients to Montrose Memorial Hospital, out of an abundance of caution as CMH staffers undergo COVID-19 testing.

All services through the center, including those usually available through walk-in crisis unit on North Cascade Avenue, continue. The walk-in clinic building is, however, temporarily closed.

The center did not experience an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but noted potential exposure and, in adherence with health guidelines, began having staff members tested starting Wednesday.

There was no verified information as to any confirmed cases, just “second to third” points of contact with someone who reported a possible exposure at the crisis center, Center for Mental Health’s chief clinical officer Amanda Jones said Thursday.

“We have not stopped the services that are offered there. If people call our line, we’re still doing crisis calls. If people contact the walk-in center, we are filling a support diversion with Montrose Memorial Hospital,” Jones said.

People who need crisis unit services will be referred to MMH. Once there, hospital staff will contact a Center for Mental Health clinician who will perform an assessment and triage needs.

The center’s other clinic offices are open during normal business hours.

The Center for Mental Health opened its crisis stabilization unit last year, to help fill a need for those services in the region. As well, it operates traditional clinics for mental health services.

Prior to the crisis unit opening, patients in crisis were taken to MMH, which contacted the Center for Mental Health, just as is now being done because of the COVID-19 testing among center staffers.

“We are happy to provide the service again,” said Leann Tobin, MMH chief marketing officer.

“Nothing has stopped around the services,” Jones said. “It’s just that we had to secure the facility and testing. We do not have any confirmed COVID cases. We have worked with the health department as a safety precaution to do rapid testing.”

Jones said the center was given a timeline of two to four days for results.

“We wanted to move forward in the utmost safety of patients, staff and the community, so we were very proactively wanting to secure established practices around trying to do rapid testing and support of the environment,” she said.

“It was not a mandate, but we were trying to be very cautious and health-minded for the community.”

She reiterated that the center has not halted its services.

At all facilities, everyone in the building is required to wear a mask, a step the center put in place before Gov. Jared Polis’ mandate requiring universal mask use inside businesses and public buildings.

The center conducts health and temperature screenings when a visitor arrives; frequently disinfects surfaces and treatment rooms and has implemented social distancing for all sessions and in waiting areas.

Additionally, the Center for Mental Health is offering teletherapy and services by phone when these are feasible and appropriate; call 970-252-3200 for additional information.

Anyone with a high fever, cough, or anyone who has been exposed to someone who may have COVID-19 must reschedule appointments, as must anyone who has traveled to a high-risk area.

As a reminder, the center has a free, 24-hour support line at 970-252-6220.

Jones said people who are in need of center services should not hesitate to come in, or call, just because staff members are being tested.

“We would not have facilities open if they were not safe and secure,” she said. “ … Services have not stopped at the Center for Mental Health.”

For additional information, including access to its COVID-19 page, visit centermh.org.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

Load comments