Tucson Crisis Center Expands Services for Faster Mental Health Care | Local News


The second floor of the building houses call takers for the local crisis line during non-pandemic times and an inpatient unit for people who need to stay beyond the 11 p.m. observation period.

There is a ground floor walkway directly to Banner South, which houses the county’s 66-bed inpatient psychiatric facility.

Margie Balfour, Chief of Clinical Quality and Innovation, talks about the urgent care area at the Crisis Response Center.

Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star

Crisis center staff include social workers, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, peer support specialists, case managers and patient care technicians. There are no security guards on the unit, but patient care technicians and other staff are trained to monitor patients closely and to check in and interact with them often.

Observation units are open spaces with recliners that can lie flat, should a person wish to sleep. There are a few partitions between the recliners, for patients who want privacy, but all seats are visible from the central staff workstations, giving nurses, technicians and others a 180 view unit degrees.

On a recent Friday afternoon, a dozen people were in the adult observation unit, many resting or sleeping in their recliners. Two technicians were in the unit, talking to one of the more agitated people, but the scene remained silent, calm and controlled.

“I never wanted to go there, but if I had to go back, I would want to go there and nowhere else,” a man named Kyle said of his visit to the crisis center. “I’ve never been to a medical facility with such nice staff. They were calm, they were helpful and they tried to do their best for each patient. It’s pretty awesome. It means they love this that they make.”


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