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SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital unveils state’s first mental health day stabilization unit

First-of-its-kind unit will offer support, services to individuals experiencing urgent mental health crises for up to 23 hours.

SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital will become the first hospital in Wisconsin and the first SSM Health facility to offer a mental health outpatient day stabilization unit. Opening later this fall, the unit will offer assistance, services, and support for up to 23 hours to individuals experiencing mental health crises.

This new service is supported by a $158,000 Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Grant from the Department of Administration (DOA), on behalf of the State of Wisconsin. Earlier today, representatives from SSM Health, SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital, and the State of Wisconsin came together to celebrate the innovative new program with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the new Day Stabilization Services area.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers joined the celebration.

“The Healthcare Infrastructure grants were designed to help lay the foundation for healthier communities and a stronger state by addressing mental and behavioral health challenges, bridging rural health care gaps, expanding care options for Wisconsinites, and building the local infrastructure needed to tackle any health-related crisis that comes our way,” according to Governor. “That’s exactly what this new unit at the SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital will do. We know folks across our state need these mental and behavioral health services perhaps now more than ever, and I am proud the state could help support SSM Health to bring this unit to fruition for the folks in Fond du Lac County and the surrounding area.”

The program’s goal is to assist individuals in resolving their crisis and make appropriate community connections for ongoing services. Day Stabilization Services will be able to accommodate as many as eight behavioral health patients experiencing mental health crises to receive immediate services for up to 23 hours.

“I’m so humbled by all the work that has gone into the planning and implementation of this essential program – not only for the immediate Ripon community but for those within our service area that will benefit from our Day Stabilization Services a short time from now,” says DeAnn Thurmer, SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital president. “We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from Governor Tony Evers and the state of Wisconsin, as well as The Foundation for Ripon Medical Center, and the enthusiastic welcome from our community partners who will be instrumental in connecting individuals facing mental health concerns with our team.”

This new and innovative program reflects SSM Health’s goal to talk more openly about mental health and shift the culture – people need to understand it is OK to not be OK. We need to increase our ability to be self-aware, recognize the signs of mental health distress and not be afraid to speak up.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and many other factors, we know that mental health continues to dramatically impact the individuals we serve,” according to Sue Anderson, SSM Health Wisconsin Regional president.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), mental illness is very common. In fact, one in five people live with a mental health condition.

“SSM Health’s commitment to mental health continues to be strong at a time when some health care organizations are getting out of behavioral health. We continue to step up, and invest our resources to help,” says Anderson.

As the need for mental health services continues to rise, the Day Stabilization Services will help offset the high demand for psychiatry and outpatient mental health services which often have wait lists six to eight months or longer.

“In our new program, we will have the ability to bring in these patients in the midst of crisis and voluntarily stay in our care for up to 23 hours,” says Tiffany Parker, LPC, SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac Region director of Behavioral Health Hospital-Based Services. “During that time, we can provide them with an assessment, brief therapy, and family and discharge planning.”

Once open, SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital will work with various county mental health crisis team members or internal SSM Health emergency department staff after they complete the mental health and/or substance use screening and assessment to determine the appropriate level of care.

The Foundation for Ripon Medical Center has given $75,000 to help with patient transportation needs once the program is operational.

Large group at a ribbon cuttingGovernor Tony Evers speaking at a podiumhospital  roomPeople in a hospital room