Crisis stabilization unit in the works for Lamar County in near future

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:06 PM CDT
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LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Lamar County is looking to transform a National Guard Armory building into a crisis stabilization unit.

The CSU will soon be a home-like facility that houses people dealing with behavioral or mental health situations.

The facility will work hand-in-hand with Crisis Intervention Teams in Lamar Marion, Forrest, and Perry counties.

CITs are police officers trained to evaluate and deescalate mental health situations at 911 calls.

Lamar County Chancery Clerk Jamie Aultman is spearheading the program.

“If the person they’re dealing with is going through a psychological or emotional, drug and alcohol, type situation and more so than a criminal activity, that officer can determine that or help determine that,” says Aultman

If the person falls under the guidelines, he or she will be transported to the CSU instead of going to jail.

“Bring them in, put them through the care of a doctor, nurse practitioner, social worker, health care provider, psychiatrist,“ Aultman says.

The CSU will provide 24-hour care for subjects serviced inside the facility, which will include 16 beds. They can stay five to seven days or more, and before leaving they’ll report to the Mobile Crisis Response Team.

“That service is to help make sure that our individuals continue receiving care and keep them out of our local ERs and back through the criminal system,” says Aultman.

Aultman is working closely with Forrest and Lamar counties and the City of Hattiesburg to write grants for the cost of renovations, which is $3 million.

Pine Belt Mental Health is the health care provider for the facility.

Aultman says his hope for the facility is to be the pilot project for the State of Mississippi and then to see the program used in different parts of the state.

Aultman adds that the facility could bring anywhere between 55 to 60 jobs to the community.

The CSU is planning to partner with Forrest County Annex which has an additional 8 beds.

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