Milwaukee mental health complex closes as part of shift to community care

Milwaukee mental health complex closes as part of shift to community care

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wisconsin. – The building that houses the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex closed Friday to new admissions after more than 40 years of service.

The team of people behind the overhaul of how mental health services are delivered in the county describe the change as an important step to better serve people earlier and closer to home.

“The county has gotten to a point where our community care system has done so well that it’s reduced the demand for inpatient needs,” said Michael Lappen, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Services Administrator.

Lappen said lower demand at the complex prompted a redesign to rely on partnerships with community clinics like Sixteenth Street, Outreach Community Health Centers, Progressive Community Health Centers and now Milwaukee Health Services to reach people more early and before they find themselves in an emergency.

The resort’s long-term location wasn’t exactly the most convenient, and the facility itself was outdated.

“The key to a healthier community will be having access to that preventative care like any other health issue,” Lappen said.

The overhaul includes moving emergency services to an all-new location on 12th Street in Milwaukee to reach an area where the vast majority of people who have used psychiatric crisis services over the past decade live.

“I’m looking forward to the transition, I’m looking forward to being closer to the community,” said Lauren Hubbard, director of community crisis services for Milwaukee County.

Hubbard began working at the Mental Health Complex 10 years ago as a Registered Nurse in Psychiatric Crisis Services, now she is in a leadership role.

“He’s operated the only mental health emergency room in the state so far, so it will be a change for individuals for our partners and stakeholders. But I think there’s a positive change,” Hubbard said.

Although services have been moved to other areas of the community, they are still available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

You can always reach their 24/7 crisis hotline at (414) 257-7222.

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