Samaritan Health Services CEO Doug Boysen joined dignitaries including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden for a press conference on mental health concerns before a tour of the planned Benton County Crisis Center build site on Monday, Oct. 24.
More than 30 people gathered next door at the Benton County Government Complex to listen to the speakers share an overview of the mental health crisis in the community before touring the site.
“I believe health care is local,” Boysen said in his speech. “Every community is unique. It takes local leaders and community stakeholders working together to develop something that’s going to really meet the needs of that community.”
Wyden briefly shared the struggles his late brother Jeffrey had with mental illness.
Joining Wyden and Boysen as speakers at the event were Benton County Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall, Benton County Health Director Damien Sands and Benton County Project Manager Ricky Garcia.
“Today, we are working diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for the Benton County Crisis Center,” said Garcia. “This crisis center will serve as another door to connect individuals with support they need, a place where people can get help when they need help.”
The project area, located on the corner of NW Fourth Street and NW Van Buren Avenue, was a former service station, and most recently a used car lot.
Boysen, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center CEO Laura Hennum and Samaritan Health Plans Interim Director of Behavioral Health Todd Jeter joined the tour of the site with the design committee and the media.
The design committee has been working together to create a space that is safe, trauma-informed, accessible, welcoming and meets the unique needs of local residents.
Design committee member organizations include: Benton County Health Department, Benton County Public Works, Mahlum Architects, Gerding Builders, Samaritan Health Services, InterCommunity Health Network, Pathfinder Clubhouse, Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center, Strengthening Rural Families and Oregon State University.
The crisis center’s business model is to divert individuals from higher level care facilities such as Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center to a safe and supportive environment where individuals can receive support and stabilization services for up to 29 days.
“I think if the pandemic has taught us anything, if we all work together and come up with solutions, we’re going to be stronger going forward,” said Boysen. “This crisis center has been a true community collaboration. I know Samaritan is so grateful for the support and leadership provided by Benton County through this endeavor.”