JBS Mental Health Authority will soon begin operations at the Craig Crisis Care Center in Birmingham, serving 20 counties across Central Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – January 24, 2023 – Today, Governor Kay Ivey joined the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH), JBS Mental Health Authority, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and other community leaders for an exclusive look, ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony at the Craig Crisis Care Center in Birmingham.
Serving 20 counties across Central Alabama, the Craig Crisis Care Center is designed to support individuals facing a mental health or substance use crisis. The facility is one of six Crisis Centers across the state that make up Alabama’s Crisis System of Care.
“Strengthening Alabama’s mental healthcare access has been a top priority for my administration from the beginning, and I’m proud to celebrate the opening of Alabama’s fourth Crisis Center here in Birmingham,” said Gov. Ivey. “Throughout every major region in Alabama, we are working diligently to improve our mental health landscape to ensure we create positive change in the lives of Alabamians who need it most.”
In 2020, Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature allocated $18 million to establish three Crisis Centers across the state in Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery, followed by an additional $6 million for Birmingham in 2021. Last year, the Governor announced funding for two additional Crisis Centers in Tuscaloosa and Dothan.
Historically, there have been few immediately accessible options in Alabama for individuals facing a mental health or substance use crisis. As a result, local jails and emergency departments have become inundated with individuals in a behavioral health crisis. The Craig Crisis Care Center will be a designated place for communities, law enforcement, first responders and families to provide individuals with the timely professional services they need in the most appropriate environment. Instead of waiting several hours to admit an individual to a jail or emergency department, law enforcement will be able to warmly hand-off individuals at the Crisis Center in 15 minutes or less.
“We have a tremendous need for 24/7, 365 mental health care in Jefferson County,” said Kimberly Boswell, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health. “Bringing the Craig Crisis Care Center to fruition is the result of a connected, community-driven effort that will save lives by offering some place to go for those in a mental health or substance use crisis. The center will also save significant time and resources for our law enforcement, alleviating a strain on jails and emergency departments.”
Under the leadership of JBS Executive Director Jim Crego and Dr. Sabrina Scott, director of the Craig Crisis Care Center, the facility will include 32 temporary observation beds with a 23-hour maximum length of stay and 16 extended observation beds, accommodating individuals for one to five days. Once patients are stabilized, the Crisis Center team will work directly with community partners and hospitals to coordinate appropriate aftercare services.
“Our team at JBS has a tremendous opportunity to be at the forefront of mental health and substance use crisis care in Jefferson County,” said Crego. “We only represent one piece of a substantial local and statewide community effort that made it possible to bring this incredible facility to Birmingham. From law enforcement and legislators to advocacy groups, fellow nonprofits and hospitals, we are grateful to have built such an incredible network of dedicated partners.”
The Craig Crisis Care Center is named after Dr. Richard Craig, who served as the executive director of JBS Mental Health Authority for 23 years. A veteran mental health trailblazer and advocate, Dr. Craig helped kickstart the initial conversation around the need for Alabama’s Crisis System of Care decades ago. Throughout his extensive career, he won numerous awards and accolades, including the NAMI Alabama Lifetime Achievement Award and the Annual Alabama Institute for Recovery H.O.P.E. Award.
“Dr. Craig’s incredible leadership and enthusiasm for implementing new mental health services has positively impacted countless individuals and families across the state,” added Crego. “He will forever be engrained into the fabric of Alabama’s Crisis System of Care.”
The Craig Crisis Care Center will be open 24/7/365 and will provide services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. JBS anticipates beginning operations in the coming weeks and is in the process of hiring for several positions including nurses, clinicians and technicians. For more information, please visit jbsmentalhealth.com/employment.
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About JBS Mental Health Authority
Jefferson-Blount-St. Clair Mental Health Authority (“JBS”) was incorporated in 1968 and has been a pioneer in 310 Board and Community Mental Health Center service provisions for more than 50 years. As a regional, public nonprofit, JBS provides mental health services to children, youth and adults in a manner that encourages resilience and wellness. Through education, treatment and support, JBS strives to help each person to live a meaningful and productive life of their choice.
About Alabama Department of Mental Health
The Alabama Department of Mental Health serves approximately 200,000 Alabama citizens with mental illnesses, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and substance use disorders. The department strives to Serve, Empower, and Support while promoting the health and well-being of Alabamians. Visit www.mh.alabama.gov for more information.