DuPage County approves funds to expand mental health services

DuPage County Board members approved $7.75 million to help build a new crisis recovery center to address mental health needs.

The center, estimated to cost $25.8 million, will provide emergency mental health services to residents in need. The county's public health department will operate the facility.

"We have an opportunity to change lives and improve mental health services in this county for ourselves and for generations to come," DuPage County Board Chairwoman Deborah Conroy said. "We know that mental health services are desperately needed; especially among our youth."

The crisis recovery center would serve as a triage, of sorts, that would assess and stabilize patients before sending them on to the next step for care. It would serve as an alternative to hospital emergency rooms and provide a single point of care for residents and emergency responders, health officials said.

Outgoing DuPage County Public Health Director Karen Ayala in April described the center as a "transformational project" to better meet mental health needs.

"Investing these funds to expand access to behavioral health crisis services will have a lasting impact on our community, improving the health and well-being of DuPage County residents," said county board member Sam Tornatore, who also heads the DuPage County Board of Health.

Construction on the 33,000-square-foot facility is expected to start next spring and be completed by the summer of 2025. It will be located next to the Linda A. Kurzawa Community Center, at 115 N. County Farm Road.

In all, the county is contributing $15.3 million to the project, including the 7.75 million approved Tuesday and another $7.5 million previously reallocated for the project. The health department also received $5.5 million from the state's Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan and a $1 million federal grant for the project. The remaining $4 million in building costs will be covered through the health department.

Health officials must still determine how to fund operations of the new center, but noted insurance payments will help cover services.

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