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Waukesha County to shrink Mental Health Center, open crisis unit

Waukesha County's Mental Health Center is reducing its capacity by nearly half to make way for an incoming Crisis Stabilization Unit, which the county has sought for some time.

Waukesha County Mental Health Center will shrink its inpatient capacity by nearly half starting Aug. 1 to make room for a Crisis Stabilization Unit set to open in 2024. 

The center will shrink from 28 beds to 16, and close one wing of the building, at 1501 Airport Road, Waukesha. The wing will be remodeled into a Crisis Unit, which will be geared toward counseling and patient needs such as housing and transportation, instead of psychiatric treatment.

What’s the difference between a mental health center and a crisis unit?

Clinical Services Division Manager Kirk Yauchler said the main difference between the facilities is that the Crisis Unit will be open to voluntary commitment. He said two-thirds of current center admissions are part of Wisconsin’s Chapter 51 process — which allows for involuntary commitment and treatment of someone who is sufficiently dangerous and mentally ill, drug dependent or developmentally disabled. 

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