The Burke Center is receiving almost $284,000 in state funding. It's one of 38 mental health centers across the state ready to use the funding for mobile outreach units. Mental health providers are now mapping the way to better provide crises response services for a 12 county East Texas region.
Director of Behavioral Health at the Burke Center, Kenneth Placke explained that a mental crisis describes, " A person who is endangering of hurting themselves or somebody else, who does not have the ability to discern the facts of how they are going to stop themselves from hurting themselves or another person because the truly believe perhaps they are at the end of all their options. "
Currently emergency rooms and law enforcement have the burden of treating suicidal and potentially dangerous individuals. The mobile outreach team is designed to reduce the need for hospitalization and incarceration. Burke Center director Susan Rushing said, " The hospital staff is doing their very best. So is the law enforcement. These need to be (mental health) professionals that will be able to go out in the community and into the emergency departments when people are having a mental health crisis and begin to help them."
Remaining as a critical need is a psychiatric hospital. Rushing said, " We have no in-patient facility in our region. We have only rusk state hospital and it's often full and so right now patients are having to go to Louisiana or to Houston or Beaumont or Palestine for their psychiatric care. " the need for increased mental health care is crucial. The Burke Center currently serves about 3,000 mentally ill clients and their families.