Section: News

Downtown Mount Vernon mental health crisis center opens

On Feb. 19, Behavioral Healthcare Partners (BHP) of Central Ohio celebrated the opening of the Care Now clinic, an urgent care center in Mount Vernon dedicated to mental health support for those in crisis. The clinic will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Appointments are not required.

The opening of the clinic comes at a time when mental health is the subject of elevated focus amid concerns of increasing rates of anxiety and depression brought on by the pandemic. According to the American Psychological Association, 62% of adults reported being more anxious in 2020 than the previous year, and 41% reported the same in 2021. 

In 2020, the College began to offer free telehealth counseling services via a mobile app called Talkspace after students reported experiencing a decline in the state of their mental health due to COVID-19-related stressors. A number of counseling services are also available in Knox County, including an online counseling center in Mount Vernon and crisis hotlines.

The Care Now clinic, located at 206 S Mulberry St, has counselors, care coordinators, nurse practitioners who are able to provide medication, as well as a certified medical assistant as a receptionist. Facilities include counseling rooms, office spaces and a telehealth monitor in each room. The clinic hopes to provide weekend hours soon, as well as support to family members of the person experiencing mental health crises. 

Kathryn St. James, president and CEO of BHP, views the clinic as an intermediate step that can provide short-term assistance before connecting patients with longer-term behavioral health services. 

“We can’t solve all of the problems,” St. James told Knox Pages. “We really do see ourselves as a bridge to get people the help they need.”

BHP celebrated the clinic’s opening as a major step in helping people experiencing mental health crises during a time of heightened difficulty.

“This is very urgent, this measure that we are taking today,” Mount Vernon Mayor Matthew Starr told Knox Pages. “This is another part of the continuum of care we can offer in the community.”


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