JUDGE GUY HERMAN CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS CARE
Operated by Integral Care, the Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care helps address Travis County’s lack of adequate access to emergency psychiatric services and helps support first responder and emergency healthcare services by creating a new point of access for crisis care. The center is the result of a collaboration of local healthcare organizations, including St. David’s Foundation and Central Health.
The Judge Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care provides short term emergency psychiatric crisis care in Travis County. Services include stabilization, assessment and treatment in a secure, protected residential environment for adults experiencing mental health crises.
Primary referrals to the Herman Center come from law enforcement, healthcare providers such as local emergency departments and other Integral Care crisis services. Law enforcement and healthcare providers can access the Herman Center by calling Integral Care’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline at 512-472-HELP (4357). Press 1, then 2. The Herman Center is not appropriate for self-referral or walk-in services.
- Crisis assessment
- Crisis stabilization and extended observation
- Therapy – individual and group
- Nursing services
- Case management
- Peer Support
- Discharge planning
- Linkage to ongoing care and community resources
Austin and Travis County have lacked adequate access to emergency psychiatric services, placing a strain on first responder and emergency healthcare services. The Herman Center supports the community by:
- Offering an alternative to inpatient psychiatric facilities and emergency rooms.
- Providing an alternative to incarceration. The lack of adequate mental health services in this community has resulted in individuals with mental health issues being incarcerated too often. The Herman Center helps ensure that individuals whose primary issue is mental illness have an appropriate and safe place to be assessed and treated.
A workgroup convened by Central Health beginning in 2005, known as the Psychiatric Services Stakeholder Committee (which includes St. David’s Foundation, Seton Healthcare Family, Integral Care, Central Health, the Austin Police Department, local judges, and mental health professionals), identified this collaborative community solution to respond to the need for enhanced crisis services.
The crisis center is modeled after Burke, the mental health emergency center in Lufkin, Texas, which opened in 2008 and is a recognized best practice. In 2013, St. David’s Foundation hosted a “field trip” to Lufkin for local mental health stakeholders to visit the site and determine if this model would help address needs in Travis County. The consensus was that this model would fill a critical gap in the local mental health safety net. St. David’s Foundation began working with key partners (Integral Care and Central Health) to develop this community solution to what has been a long standing problem.
The Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care offers the opportunity to recognize a true advocate in our community – Judge Guy Herman. For decades, Judge Herman has championed the interests of individuals living with mental health issues in Travis County. As the local Probate Judge, Herman is responsible for determining if and when an individual must be committed involuntarily for psychiatric care. In this role, he has seen firsthand the needs of individuals experiencing mental illness. He has continually advocated for improving access to services and improving our local service delivery system.
St. David’s Foundation is funding the project with a grant totaling almost $9 million. This funding covered the majority of construction costs and will cover a significant percentage of the operating costs during the first two years. Central Health is making the land available via a low cost (virtually free) long-term lease. The value of this land is estimated at $1.2 million. Integral Care raised additional funds from public and private sources.
The Herman Center is located at 6600 E. Ben White Blvd., Austin, TX 78741.