TWIN FALLS — A 24-hour crisis center in Twin Falls is open and accepting clients.

The South Central Public Health District staff wished to have the Crisis Center of South Central Idaho open in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The center had a soft opening Monday, and is designed to provide evaluation, intervention and referrals for people in crisis due to a behavioral health condition.

No appointment is necessary, and no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

“The holiday season is when we start to see people having crises, whether people are having depression alone or because of a family fight,” South Central Public Health District spokesman Jeff Pierson said.

The district had just a month and a half to prepare the center at 570 Shoup Ave. W., which was in disrepair.

The Crisis Center of South Central Idaho is open 24-7, 365 days a year. With 20 employees, the center will have at least three people on staff at all times, including security personnel, a nurse and a counselor or recovery coach.

People coming into the center can receive services for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes during a single episode.

“The legislature recognized that law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms have become the default providers of crisis intervention to Idaho citizens with behavioral health disorders,” Rene LeBlanc, district health director, said in a statement. “As a result, vital resources are being expended by agencies that are not equipped to provide an appropriate level of behavioral health services.”

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Law enforcement and other partners may drop off people in crisis who voluntarily wish for services. The district plans to meet with local law enforcement, medical providers and other partners by mid-December to develop referral and drop-off protocols.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but our partners understand the purpose and value of this project — it’s not a hard sell,” Pierson said in a statement.

This is the third crisis center to open in Idaho, soon to be followed by a fourth in Boise. The health district signed a contract to open and operate this facility in September. ProActive Advantage is the sub-contractor for staffing and facilities.

“Standing up this facility has been challenging, but my staff wanted to be open for the holidays,” ProActive Advantage owner Frank Knight said in a statement. “They worked hard and made it happen. I am very appreciative.”

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