New mental health center benefits St. George community, DSU students

New emergency mental health receiving center is set to be built in Hurricane this year. This building’s goal is to provide a place for people with mental health and drug issues. Misha Mosiichuk | Sun News Daily

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As the population in St. George increases, so are the mental health resources.

Utah leaders broke ground for a mental health and drug crisis emergency receiving center in Washington County. This new resource will not only benefit the community of St. George, but also all of the students at Dixie State University. DSU’s Booth Wellness Center provides mental health services for students. However, with the ever-growing population in St. George and number of students at DSU, another mental health center will be beneficial to all who reside in St. George. Garyn Gulbranson, director of the BWC, said he is very excited to see this center announced.

Gulbranson said: “The fact they are opening it [the mental health center] will help our students and everyone else to access services more promptly, quickly and hopefully have better aftercare for mental health crisis’. What I would like to do, and envision doing, it would be great if we had a relationship with both them [the new mental health center] and the Access Center, so if a student were to go there they could be informed about our services.”

The current resources in Washington County are the Intermountain Behavioral Access Center in the St. George Regional Hospital and the BWC. In a small town, like St. George, there is a lull when it comes to available resources for not only mental health services, but the aftercare services for mental health treatment. The BWC is a resource that provides the necessary and beneficial aftercare services for those who have been released from the hospital or the future crisis center.

“So someone may go to the hospital, have a mental health crisis or suicide attempt and 70% of the time they are not following through with their aftercare, that is a really scary statistic,” Gulbranson said. “We want to let students know we are available for aftercare, and continued care after a hospitalization.”

Mental health is an ongoing problem for students and communities, and not just in St. George and at DSU, but everywhere. According to Mental Health America, over half of the adults struggling with mental illness do not receive treatment. This means over 27 million adults in the U.S. are struggling with untreated mental health.

Peer coach Benjamin Stoddard, a history education major from Cottonwood Heights, said: “My experience dealing with mental health with my students is that it is the most common thing that I deal with. Mental health is so prominent in every student because of the change of environment and the independence that college demands.”

Both Gulbranson and Stoddard said it is important for students, faculty and staff to be aware of mental health resources nearby. Whether it is to help the individual themself, their peers or friends who are struggling and need assistance.

“This would be something a student can go to if they need support outside of our operating hours at the BWC on weekends, evenings or early mornings, if we are not available they can go out there [the new mental health center],” Gulbranson said.

The mental health and drug crisis emergency receiving center is being built at 5500 W. 700 S. in Hurricane. The new center is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.