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Burrell, county to sign health center contract

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Burrell Behavioral Health and the Greene County Commission are scheduled to sign a contract next week for a new health care center.

Through the agreement, $1 million in public funding would go toward the Behavioral Crisis Center, which is planned at the current site of a Burrell social-setting detox unit at 800 S. Park Ave. The center is designed to serve adults with emergent mental health care and substance-abuse needs, according to a news release.

“This contract signing is a real milestone. It is the result of a great deal of research, study and collaboration on the part of not just the commission, but many individuals and agencies who continue to work together to bring needed resources and services to the citizens of our community,” Associate Commissioner Harold Bengsch said in the release. “The commission feels funding this unique center is a step in the right direction to address our county’s growing mental health needs.”

Bengsch also served as co-chair of the Healthy Living Alliance’s mental health and substance abuse task force that developed an 18-month investigation of the county’s mental health. Among the findings, Greene County’s suicide rate of 24.8 per 100,000 people is higher than the state, at 18.5, and nation, at 14. Depression also is higher, while inpatient beds are lower, according to the release.

Burrell in late 2019 presented to the commission a proposal to create the Behavioral Crisis Center.

"With our governmental, law enforcement and health care partners all on board, we feel this unique concept will be an enormous asset for Springfield and Greene County, and serve as a blueprint for collaborative, crisis-level mental health care nationally,” Burrell President and CEO C.J. Davis said in the release.

Burrell has entered multiple partnerships recently, including those with Fordland Clinic, Springfield Public Schools, Mercy Springfield Communities and Greene County Family Justice Center, according to past reporting.

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