Duluth mental health crisis house to closeThe Bridge House, a residential program in downtown Duluth for people dealing with mental health crises, is closing.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The Bridge House, a residential program in downtown Duluth for people dealing with mental health crises, is closing.
“It was a tough decision to get to,” said Dave Lee, director of public health and human services for Carlton County, who is the liaison for the Region 3 Adult Mental Health Initiatives. The region serves six counties and three tribes.
“We looked high and low for other options to try to have an interim plan to keep the doors open,” Lee said. “But it really seemed to be getting in the way of where we needed to go.”
Bridge House, 221 N. First Ave. W., opened in 1995. It officially will shut its doors on June 30, according to a May 16 memorandum from Region 3 and Minnesota Department of Human Services officials. However, no new admissions are being accepted, and it was intended that all clients would be discharged by May 22. It wasn’t clear if that goal had been met.
Adults in crisis situations will be referred to other mental-health providers, Lee said.
Bridge House is licensed to house up to 13 clients, but typically has had five or six at a time, Lee said. The typical stay was seven days.
Running the Bridge House was costly, and it was burdened by a complicated financial structure split between the state agency and the region, Lee said. “There was different funding for the rent, different funding for the operations, different funding for the staff.”
Mental health professionals in the region are looking for more effective means of serving adults in crisis, Lee said. One goal is to offer better service to people in rural areas.
“We have so many emerging needs in the mental health area that we think we need to take some pretty bold steps,” Lee said.
Bridge House has 31 employees, although most serve in other roles as well, Lee said. Five of them will continue to work in Region 3 mental-health initiatives. He wasn’t sure what would happen to the rest.
Adults in mental-health crises should call one of two crisis lines: