RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a first of its kind in Rapid City. Construction is underway on a new unit to help people going through a mental health crisis.

Millions of people in the U.S. are living with a mental illness.
That’s why it’s so important for communities to have facilities like a Crisis Stabilization Unit.

“Especially after the COVID Crisis, mental crisis’ have really increased and as a community, if we can all come together to support people forward, it would be really helpful,” Aimee Janvrin, with Behavior Management Services, said.

This 14,000 square foot building is located right behind the Care Campus. Construction is scheduled to be finished this year.

It will be made up of 8 recliners for stays up to 24 hours. And 16 beds for stays up to five days.

“So fall, we should be up and running. And this facility will be for western South Dakota so not just the City of Rapid City or Pennington County but our surrounding counties as well will have access to this facility,” Chief Deputy Willie Whelchel, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Currently, people in need of urgent mental health care would have to travel across the state.

“The big thing is, when somebody needs longer treatment, they have to go over to Yankton at HSC (Human Services Center) and that takes them away from their families. It’s a long transport for somebody that is not feeling their best. The goal is to keep them here in the area so family can be part of their treatment and keep them closer to home,” Janvrin said.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and Behavior Management Services hope this will help in the effort to increase coverage for mental health services in Western South Dakota.

The legislature funded four and a half million dollars for the Crisis Stabilization Unit in Pennington County.
Local fundraising helped to cover increased construction costs.