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Harford Crisis Center previews 24/7 behavioral health center

A rendering of what the new Harford Crisis Center will look like when it opens next spring. (Submitted)

A rendering of what the new Harford Crisis Center will look like when it opens next spring. (Submitted)

The Harford Crisis Center previewed Thursday its center offering 24-hour services for addiction, behavioral health and mental health by showing guests 3D renderings of the center.

The new facility will be the first co-located, co-funded public-private partnership offering behavioral health services in Maryland and is expected to open next spring. 

“There has been a need for a crisis center in Harford County for several years,” Lyle E. Sheldon, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have committed community leaders who are able to identify challenges and who are willing to work together to overcome them. That spirit of cooperation is illustrated by the Harford Crisis Center.”

The crisis center is a partnership between the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, Harford County Government, Healthy Harford/Healthy Cecil, the Harford County Health Department, the Office on Mental Health/Core Service Agency of Harford County Inc. and the Affiliated Sante Group.

The Bel Air center will present an alternative to the emergency room for people with a behavioral or mental health crisis. Organizers expect the center will significantly reduce inpatient admissions and emergency room visits for behavioral health issues.

It will also offer addiction services, a growing need in Harford County where the number of overdoses has increased 180 percent over the past five years. There were more than 100 overdose deaths for the first time last year.

The center already launched a 24/7 hotline this month with Harford County’s Mobile Crisis Team. The Mobile Crisis Team has managed 108 calls to the hotline and 33 team dispatches.

Next, the center will open an outpatient mental health service offering therapy and medication management. The final phase of the project will be the full 24/7 crisis center, including eight beds.

Once it is fully operational, the center estimates it will treat between 2,000 and 3,000 patients a year.

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