In order to help reduce the pressure on local hospital emergency departments, Memorial Behavioral Health has opened a center where adults experiencing emotional distress can go to for a safe and calming environment where they can get help.
Dubbed The Living Room, the center is at 710 N. Eighth St. in Springfield and is open from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The entrance is at Eighth and Miller streets.
“Many people don’t know where or how to get the help they need for their mental health and well-being,” said Diana Knaebe, system administrator for behavioral health at Memorial Health System and president of Memorial Behavioral Health. “Many often end up going to the emergency department, which is not the best option for the care they need. The Living Room is designed to be a safe, supportive place where people can access that help.”
There is no cost to go to The Living Room, and no appointment required.
The Living room provides emotional support, crisis intervention, safety planning, assistance in linking with community resources, such as health care and food, and follow-up services delivered by behavioral health specialists.
“An emergency department is aimed at helping people with physical injuries,” Knaebe said. “Mental health isn’t the primary focus. It’s also a very stressful environment. In many cases, people who go to an emergency room for help with a mental-health crisis don’t get the most appropriate type of care for their situation.”
The Living Room provides point-in-time, immediate care specifically for mental health issues for individuals who are not needing a more intensive and restrictive environment. “This is a much different environment,” Knaebe said. “It’s calming, safe and peaceful, and our staff have the expertise needed to help.”
A grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services provided funding for The Living Room.
“This is a unique approach to crisis intervention, and it’s been very successful in other communities around the state,” Knaebe said. “We think it is a great resource for the people of Springfield.”
In November 2020, Memorial Behavioral Health launched a mental health crisis clinic at the same location to help people dealing with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. The clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
In March 2020, Memorial Behavioral Health launched a free emotional support hotline to the public. The number is 217-588-5509. The hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
For more information about The Living Room, call 217-588-5272 or visit.