New mental health facility to open in Southeast Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For families dealing with a mental health crisis, an option to hospitalization or incarceration is a welcome one.

A new treatment center in Southeast Fresno will offer crisis intervention as well as a place for people to stay.

The Crisis Residential Treatment program is the first of its kind in Fresno County in a decade.

It's designed to get patients treated in a home-like setting.

The Crisis Residential Treatment Center offers a calming atmosphere the moment you walk in. It provides people with a temporary place to stay so they can get mental health services.

"Individuals who will stay here are the type of individuals who might be having multiple encounters with police over time. Never rising to the point that they need hospitalization," said Fresno County Behavorial Health Director, Dawan Utecht.

16 beds are available for patients dealing with a psychotic episode and other serious emotional issues.

Central Star Behavioral Health professionals will assess patients and offer them support services.

"When I'm talking to the ER doctors there's always a need. They don't know where to send our patients who need mental health services," said Dr. Subkhit Brar.

Utecht helped leverage federal and state funds to build the five-million dollar facility.

In some regards, it resembles a museum with all of the artwork on the walls. Several pieces were made by clients.

"We think art can be uplifting and can be motivational," said Utecht.

Architect Art Dyson believes art can heal. The clean lines and modern feel give the facility a very homey rather than a clinical setting.

"That was the attempt to put them in a holistic setting. A setting that's nurturing," said Dyson.

Rather than a building, Dyson thinks of it as a bridge to help people get back into society. Most patients will stay 30 days for a mental health assessment, medication evaluation and assistance in finding housing.

The Crisis Residential Treatment Center will begin to accept patients later this fall.
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