Racine County leaders announce $25 million for new mental health facility

NOW: Racine County leaders announce $25 million for new mental health facility

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A new facility set to be built in Racine will aim to help address gaps in mental health and substance abuse programs in the county, officials announced Monday, March 13.

"It is our belief and goal that this center will be a positive step towards eliminating the negative stigma surrounding mental health, while proactively serving those in need," Racine County Executive Johnathan Delagrave said at an announcement event.

The $25 million facility will be an expansion of the behavioral health services campus already in place on Taylor Avenue in Racine. The new building will aim to be a one-stop shop for mental health and substance abuse help by housing therapists, providers, law enforcement, emergency personnel, advocates and community stakeholders.

The building is set to be open by summer of 2024.

Law enforcement officials said the investments in mental health can help address certain substance abuse-related crimes.

"It's really trying to get to the source of what the issue is and get [people] services and programming to hopefully help them to avoid the criminal justice system, that's the ultimate goal," Racine County Sheriff's Office Capt. Carey Madrigal told CBS 58.

During the announcement, some Racine County residents shared their story of addiction and recovery, including Darren Taylor, who participated in county programs in the past to help with his mental health and substance abuse.

"Those two programs were very instrumental in my recovery," Taylor said.

Taylor said the stigmas around mental health and substance abuse treatments have changed in recent years and hopes the new investment further brings down such barriers.

"It's very important that if you have a mental health issue and a substance abuse issue, they need to be addressed at the same time, and with this facility, from my understanding, is going to be able to help people do that," Taylor said.

Delagrave also called on the County Board to approve a proposed $100,000 in funds for laser drug testing technology that he said will help fight the ongoing crisis around substance abuse.

Racine County has seen a 111% increase in suspected overdoses related to opioids during the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same timeframe last year.

More information about current mental health and substance abuse services in Racine County can be found here

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