Prince William County is set to receive $2.5 million in public funding to support mental health crisis services.
The money is included in the biennial budget approved by the General Assembly on Wednesday. The spending plan still needs to be approved by Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“I’ve heard so many people in my district say we need more mental health care,” Supervisor Andrea Bailey, D-Potomac, said in a news release. “Hopefully we can convert an existing building on the east side of the county to accommodate this center. We don’t talk enough about mental health care in black and brown communities, in large part because these communities haven’t had wide access to mental health care. The crisis reception center is an important first step towards expanding mental health services in Prince William.
The county plans to establish a 24-hour crisis drop-in center, which would provide direct interventions to avoid emergency psychiatric hospitalization or institutional placement for people suffering from mental health crises.
Of the. Elizabeth Guzman, D-31st, submitted the budget amendment for the facility.
“Prince William County is in desperate need of a facility to support those in mental health crisis,” Guzman said in the statement. “Our law enforcement agencies devote much of their staff time to responding to people in mental health crisis. This facility will help free up police resources and improve their response time to other emergencies, while providing people in crisis with the care they need so they are not a threat to themselves or others. others.
The unit would accept abandoners and people on temporary detention orders to connect them with treatment and services.
“We can say we care about mental health care, or we can prove it by putting our money where our mouth is,” Del said. Luke Torian, D-52nd, in the release. “A mental health crisis center will make Prince William County a safer and healthier place to live.”
The facility would include 16 beds and cost $4.7 million to complete construction.
Last month, the county earmarked $3.2 million to support the center, using $1.5 million in one-time federal funding, $1.5 million in one-time state funds and $200,000 in ongoing revenue from the state.
The county had a regional crisis stabilization unit with six beds, but the company operating it consolidated the program with one in Fairfax to provide a 16-bed facility in Chantilly. The local program ceased operations on June 30, 2021.
Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, a regional clergy collective, advocated for the establishment of the center.
Reverend Keith Savage of First Baptist Church in Manassas said the facility is “a great investment by our local and state leaders.”
“Once operational, it will save countless lives for years to come and help build a more humane and effective mental health system, especially for those on the fringes of Prince William,” he said in a statement. separate statement.
Reverend Michael Sessoms of Little Union Baptist Church in Dumfries said the facility would serve people struggling with issues like himself, an Iraq war veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I know what it’s like to be in the middle of a mental health crisis and not know where to turn. It’s a terrifying feeling,” Sessoms said in the statement. “I am delighted that the CRC is a lifeline for people who are suffering.”