News Flash

Linn County Front Page News

Posted on: November 29, 2023

Mental Health Access Center Now Open 24/7

Mental Health Access Center Exterior Sign

Adults 18 years of age or older who are experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis can now receive services from the Linn County Mental Health Access Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year without an appointment. The expanded hours officially take effect Dec. 1, 2023. Patients do not have to be residents of Linn County to receive services at the Access Center. The Access Center is located at 501 13th St. NW in Cedar Rapids.

“This is a great day for our community,” said Mental Health Access Center Director Erin Foster. “We have been working toward this milestone since first opening our doors in March 2021. Having a safe place where people can come at any time day or night to get help with a mental health or substance use crisis is a major achievement for the health of our community.”

Patients can be brought to the Access Center by loved ones or come on their own. Patients can also be brought in by law enforcement or mobile crisis teams. In fiscal year 2023, 128 people were brought to the Access Center for help through law enforcement referrals instead of being taken to jail or the hospital. 

“Hospital and jail diversion was one of our primary goals when we envisioned an Access Center in Linn County,” Foster said. “Hospitals and jails are not the right places for people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. Our trained staff can triage a patient, assess their situation, and get them started on crisis stabilization, a sobering unit, or some other crisis service generally within the first 60 minutes of their arrival. And we equip every patient with a plan before we discharge them.”

Services Available

  • Crisis triage and screening (Foundation 2)
  • Crisis counseling (Foundation 2)
  • Crisis stabilization (Abbe Health)
  • Mental health evaluations (Abbe Health)
  • Mental health prescription assistance (Abbe Health)
  • Peer support (Abbe Health)
  • Substance use evaluations and support (Unity Point Chemical Dependency)
  • Sobering unit (Area Ambulance Service)
  • Use of the Mental Health Access Center services is 100% voluntary. 

The Mental Health Access Center cannot serve individuals in need of immediate medical care; individuals who are violent at arrival or immediately prior to arrival with a likelihood that they will seriously hurt themselves, other patients, or Access Center employees. The Access Center is not able to serve minors 17 years old or younger.

About the Mental Health Access Center
The Mental Health Access Center opened in March 2021 to provide crisis care for people experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis that requires immediate attention. Services are provided by Abbe Health, Area Ambulance Service, Foundation 2, and St. Luke’s Chemical Dependency. The Mental Health Access Center receives funding from Iowa’s Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region.

In fiscal year 2023, which ended June 30, the Access Center served more than 1,200 patients, placed 344 patients into crisis stabilization, and made referrals for mental health and substance use disorder services. 

The Access Center is under the management of Linn County Community Services, a department within Linn County government. 

Visit the Mental Health Access Center webpage and watch our Access Center video.


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