State launches network to help youth with behavioral health crisis

Mid-Plains Center CEO Corrie Edwards shows off their Crisis Stabilization Unit (NTV News)

When kids lash out with a serious emotional disturbance, parents don’t always know where to turn. But now, the state launches an effort to help.

It’s welcome news to Corrie Edwards, CEO of Mid-Plains Center in Grand Island.

They have a 12-bed crisis unit that’s always full, but some who pass through are just kids.

Edwards said, “Out of desperation, my Crisis Stabilization Unit which is intended for adults, became a triage center for youth.”

But instead of parents driving two hours, help is now a phone call away.

“We felt like wouldn't it be better if we had a service that was tailored specifically to youth crisis,” Edwards said.

Funded by a $12 million federal grant, regional providers across the state are creating a new crisis response program.

Centers like Mid-Plains will have licensed mental health providers on call 24-7.

And Edwards points out, the service is free to families.

Governor Pete Ricketts announced the program this week. It’s called a System of Care, and tries to coordinate the work of state agencies along with non-profit services, local government, behavioral health providers, and families.

Ricketts told NTV one of the objectives is keeping kids at home with their families.

He said, “This is going to be an important step to make sure we're getting to kids early, getting that early intervention, doing prevention, with our goals of making sure we place as few kids as possible out of home. We want to keep them home and in school.”

Mid-Plains plans to work with law enforcement, probation, and schools to do services by phone or video conferencing, so they can assess needs in a crisis.

Corrie Edwards says in some cases, they may be able to de-escalate things by talking it through, plus connect families with local resources.

Even if it’s two in the morning and a parent doesn’t know where else to go.

“We just want to keep families intact and healthy and safe, and hopefully this will be a catalyst for doing that,” she said.

Mid-Plains Center in Grand Island is working with 12 counties, while other providers serve elsewhere.

Families can reach out for crisis services only at the numbers below. Consumers can also use the Nebraska Family Helpline, 888-866-8660, to connect with these and other services.

Region 1: Panhandle area

• Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Banner, Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden and Kimball Counties: Region 1 Behavioral Health Services, 308-225-1599

• Sheridan, Dawes and Sioux Counties, 308-430-4610

• Box Butte County: Box Butte General Hospital, 308-762-6660

Region 2: Southwest Nebraska

• Arthur, Chase, Dawson, Dundy, Frontier, Gosper, Grant, Hayes, Hitchcock, Hooker, Keith, Lincoln, Logan McPherson, Perkins, Red Willow and Thomas Counties: Region 2 Human Services, 308-390-4645

Region 3: Central Nebraska

• Adams, Clay, Franklin, Nuckolls and Wheeler Counties: 402-463-5684

• Blaine, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Hall, Hamilton, Howard, Loup, Merrick, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler Counties: 800-515-3326

• Buffalo, Furnas, Harlan, Kearney and Phelps Counties: 308-237-5951

Region 4: Northeast Nebraska

• Antelope, Cedar, Cuming, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Stanton Counties: 888-370-7003

• Boone, Colfax, Nance, Platte Counties: 866-758-4749

• Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha, Rock Counties: 877-488-9928

• Burt, Dakota, Dixon, Thurston, Wayne Counties: 877-958-7776

Region 5: Southeast Nebraska

• Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Polk, Richardson, Saline, Saunders, Seward, Thayer, York Counties: local law enforcement

Region 6: Omaha Metro

• Cass, Sarpy, Dodge, Douglas, Washington Counties: 888-866-8660

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