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St. Bernards Behavioral Health to operate Craighead County’s Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit

St. Bernards Hospital in Jonesboro
Brandon Tabor
This is a file photo of St. Bernards Hospital in Downtown Jonesboro. St. Bernards announced on Tuesday that their Behavioral Health services will operate the Craighead County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit.

St. Bernards Behavioral Health will begin a partnership with Craighead County on Oct. 1 to operate the county’s 16-bed regional Crisis Stabilization Unit.

The crisis stabilization unit (CSU), located in Jonesboro, serves 20 counties in Northeast Arkansas. One of four CSUs in the state of Arkansas, the Craighead County unit provides an alternative to jails and emergency rooms for people in crisis who encounter law enforcement.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas State Legislature created the four units under Act 423 of 2017. Craighead County’s CSU began its service as a new construction in 2019 under the direction of Mid-South Health Systems.

St. Bernards Behavioral Health Assistant Vice President Kevin Byron said he appreciates Mid-South Health Systems laying a solid foundation and developing the CSU.

“St. Bernards Behavioral Health has always had great partnerships with other regional providers,” Byron said. “We intend to work together to ensure a seamless transition of care.”

Byron said St. Bernards plans to provide services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition, the CSU will receive access to psychiatry, nursing, licensed therapy and discharge planning staff.

“The continued growth and success of this facility is paramount,” Byron said. “St. Bernards remains committed to the mental wellness needs of Northeast Arkansas.”

A CSU itself can provide no more than 16 inpatient beds, admitting individuals who experience a mental health crisis and whose needs cannot be met safely in residential service settings. Patients are admitted on both voluntary and involuntary bases, providing a safe, secure environment less restrictive than a hospital. A CSU aims to stabilize patients quickly before releasing them into the community.

Arkansas’ other three CSUs operate in Little Rock, Fort Smith and Fayetteville.