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Community Crisis Center Open in Peoria

Peoria has a new place for people to go when they're experiencing a crisis.
PEORIA - Peoria has a new place for people to go when they're experiencing a crisis.

"This may be their first time to encounter a behavior problem. Maybe they've had a loss; maybe they've had an upset in their life. They're just not able to manage. So we can be there to link them with services," said Cindy Gilmer.

Gilmer is the director of mental health services at the Community Crisis Center, which opened in August at 130 Richard Pryor Place. The center is acting like an emergency department for people who need addiction help, mental care or are just on their last legs. One of the center’s rooms is set up with sofas, chairs, a TV and even a piano. Gilmer said it’s part of the therapy.

"It’s really kinda cool because you know, if you think about it when you can't sleep at night, where do you go? You go to your living room right?" Gilmer said, "we have staff who provide counseling support, food, which is always nice and we start treatment."

The center is working with police to help some of the people they encounter.

“They obviously work with a lot with people who are homeless, experiencing a lot of troubles and don’t need necessarily police services, but police are called because people don’t know who else to call to get them help.”

Gilmer is in contact with hospitals too, taking some of the burden off of the emergency room.

"We are actually very enthusiastic about our collaboration with the community crisis center because they offer a very novel and progressive model for treatment for people who are especially undeserved and vulnerable," said Leon Yeh, director of emergency services at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.

Unless they have a serious medical emergency, people can be routed to the crisis center for more appropriate help, saving them wait time and hefty medical bills.

"Already without speaking to specific cases I can say that we've sent a handful of patients to the center already in the short time they've been open," Yeh said.

Gilmer said her staff hopes to help as many people as they can at this new 24-7 operation.
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