First-of-its-kind mental health facility opens in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A first-of-its-kind facility aimed at helping people suffering from mental health issues opened in Southeast Fresno on Thursday.

The new center will offer patients therapy while providing a secure residential environment.

The Crisis Residential Treatment Center is a beautiful facility that cost about $5 million to build, with most of the money coming from state funding.

As the need for mental health services in our community continue to increase at an alarming rate -- the facility offers a home-like setting for adults experiencing serious psychotic episodes or intense emotional distress

"Hospitals are inundated with a lot of individuals that need mental health services so this is an added service. So instead of going to the hospital they can come here and we can stabilize them," says Gerardo Cervanntes, an administrator at the facility.

The 12,000 square foot facility has 16 beds and will provide psychiatric support and case management service around the clock.

Fresno County Behavioral Health Director Dawan Utecht says one in five people suffer from some form of mental health issue
The goal here is to get residents used to daily household activities while learning coping skills necessary to successfully transition back into society.

"By having this it increases the chance of success that someone who's been in a mental health crisis can get the resource they need so they dont get into another mental health crisis," says Utecht.

Only clients with the greatest need and referred by the County Department of Behavioral Health will have access to this facility.

"A facility like this creates a stepping stone that's closer to the ones before and after so when a person is making that pathway toward recovery, it's not a Grand Canyon they have to leap to get that recovery. It's really a clear pathway and this is a really important stepping stone for us," says Utecht.

Administrators here expect to serve hundreds of people a year.

And tell me they hope to expand their reach over the next few years by offering live in housing for clients.
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