Crisis center opens in southeast Minnesota, offers alternative to ERs

The first state-funded mental health crisis center opens in Rochester on Wednesday.

The Southeast Regional Crisis Center is one of several expected to open around the state, funded with $28 million from the state Legislature. Five million of that went to the facility in Rochester, which stands to serve as a model for mental health care around the state.

Executive director Nicole Mucheck said the facility is unique because it will be able to help people every day, 24 hours a day. 

"The fact that there's a facility that can be accessible 24/7 for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis is really unique to southeast Minnesota and really to the way service delivery is,” Mucheck said.  

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Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Bruce Sutor will be treating people at the facility. He said too often people struggle to access mental health care. 

"Let's say someone is in a mental health crisis. They can wait and try to get an appointment with someone two weeks from now, months from now. Or they can go to the emergency room."

The facility, he said, is a middle ground that will serve people as young as 10 within 10 counties in southeast Minnesota. The facility houses both a walk-in clinic and 16 short-term beds. 

People are able to stay for days and are discharged with a host of services meant to help them keep their mental health stable after leaving the center, said Sutor.