West River Region Crisis Stabilization Unit unveiled

Leslie Silverman
A ribbon cutting for the state’s first crisis stabilization unit, Pivot Point, was held Jan 5. Located in Rapid City, Pivot Point is a regional center serving all of western South Dakota.
Pennington County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Willie Whelchel gave credit to all the people who have been involved in the last decade.
Whelchel called Pivot Point the “ missing link” for those suffering from mental health crises. He told a story of being a young deputy in 1989 and having to make a “run to Yankton” for an individual having a mental health crisis, wondering why services to get this individual help were on the “other end of the state.”
“What was available at that time and what was in place was either full or not available, Whelchel said. “From that point on in my career I can’t tell you how many conversations there were about how we needed more facilities, more things going on West River and how important it was to get something like this.”
Pivot Point will be the state’s “model,” officials said, with two more facilities planned East River in the near future.
The facility will be run by Behavior Management Systems (BMS), which has run the Crisis Care Center since 2012.
There are two sides to Pivot Point: the assessment side where individuals will get an in-depth behavioral health assessment to find out what’s going on, and the stabilization side which allows people to stay a longer period of time, up to five days.  
The assessment room is a calming space to help de-escalate people in crisis while they wait to talk with a counselor. It features eight recliners in a soothing earth tone environment with lots of natural light.
The assessment side is a short-term space, for stays less than 24 hours, allowing those having a mental health crisis to get linked with staff and begin working on a crisis plan. For people who need a longer stabilization period the assessment may lead to intake and the stabilization side of the building which has beds, a kitchen area and a common room. 
Each person will be evaluated on a case by case basis, which is why the assessment space is so crucial.
“That assessment will really help us determine what’s the primary issue at this time that’s  causing the crisis and get them linked to the right service,” BMS CEO Amy Iversen said. 
Iversen said BMS has numerous partnerships in the community to get people to the right place, whether that is detox or a safe bed.
“It’s really important  that we’re making sure we’re getting the right folks into this facility,” she said.
The facility is equipped with telehealth capability, meeting rooms, open office space and numerous security features. The space is also ligature resistant, meaning that every consideration possible has been thought of so that people cannot potentially harm themselves. For example beds are heavy, can’t be picked up and have no place to wrap a sheet around.
Iversen says the facility will be “addressing a critical need” in the state’s mental health care system.
Iversen says mental health issues have increased due to COVID-19. It has also created more of an awareness and acceptance about these types of issues. 
“Everybody has mental health concerns at times. It’s a normal part of being human,” she said. “And it’s OK to ask for help when you’re having mental health concerns.”
The stabilization side of the building has bedrooms all lining the outside of the building where natural light can pour in. This was not always the case West River. 
“We had everybody together in this big basement room  with safe beds, detox and treatment ... everybody,” Whelchel said. “It was not conducive to wanting to get better.”
Now every room in residential treatment has windows.
“It makes you want to feel good and want to come out,” Whelchel said.
Iversen is excited about the proximity of the building to other resources. 
Case managers in outpatient programs will be able to  meet with those at Pivot Point to establish relationships early, a key component to continued mental health  success.
“When they’re leaving they’ve already met their case manager. They already feel connected. That  warm handoff is so important,” Iversen said. “We lose so many people between different levels of service  where they’re not connected to a person and they never show up again.”
Pivot Point cannot open until fully staffed and currently has over 30 positions to fill. 
An onsite hiring event at the Quincy Street location in Rapid City will take place Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., where potential employees can see the facility and learn about what positions are open. There will be on the spot interviews as well.
Nurses, behavioral health techs and counselors are all encouraged to attend. 
Iversen is excited about opening the doors to Pivot Point, hopefully in late February.
“It’s going to be a great service to the community and the people who need it,” she said.

User login