Mental health receiving center revamped, now open in Salt Lake City

Oct 2, 2023, 2:38 PM | Updated: 3:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah Health is expanding mental health services, hoping to help people across the Salt Lake Valley.

The Huntsman Mental Health Institute’s Receiving Center reopened to the public Monday after being closed in order to add more capacity. Funding from Salt Lake County made this expansion possible.

It’s located at 501 Chipeta Way on the University of Utah campus, but it’s available 24/7 not just for students, but any person that needs it.

“The receiving center has been around for many, many years, but before this, it only served about four to six people at a time,” said Nikki McCorristin, nurse & clinical supervisor for the center.

McCorristin said they’re now able to accommodate 12 patients at a time.

“We can give you a chair and a pillow and some food and somebody to talk to. No problem is too small,” McCorristin said.

In addition, the center is also expanding its services.

“Before we weren’t able to take care of substance use patients because we didn’t have the 24-hour observation services in our space before, but now we do,” McCorristin said.

The center will work to divert people who don’t meet the criteria for an emergency or inpatient room visit but still need help.

“We have 23 hours to have a conversation, to get them settled and stable. To figure out what might be best for them and figure out the path to their own recovery,” McCorristin said. “If they just need resources, maybe change their medications, renew a prescription, or try something new.”

A welcome message to patients from the Receiving Center. (Huntsman Mental Health Institute)

A welcome message to patients from the Receiving Center. (Huntsman Mental Health Institute)

Instead of taking someone to jail or the emergency room, the center allows law enforcement to bring in people struggling with a mental health crisis. Patients who need more than 24 hours of observation can be recommended for inpatient services.

“We do hope that they bring them to us. When it doubt bring them to us,” McCorristin said.

The center will serve as a “stepping stone” for a new mental health crisis center which is under construction.

“We want to use this receiving center model to kind of work out the kinks…so that when we open up that new hospital, we’ll be able to drop it in.”

The hospital, named after donors Kem and Carolyn Gardener is set to open in 2025.

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Mental health receiving center revamped, now open in Salt Lake City