Benton County Crisis Center to expand reach, will be open 24 hours

The new Benton County Mental Health Clinic starts construction in downtown Corvallis on April 18 2024.
The new Benton County Mental Health Clinic starts construction in downtown Corvallis on April 18 2024.
Landon Marks

Now more than ever, people are seeking mental health care; demand for support has been on the rise for years, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic, and Benton County is working to meet that demand.

Ricky Garcia, a behavioral health administrative manager for the county and project manager for the soon-to-be Benton County Crisis Center, said the local situation is similar to that of the state and the nation; between the increase of new clients and staffing shortages statewide, it can take up to a year to establish care with a therapist or psychiatrist.

“The crisis center will help bridge this gap while serving as a low-barrier resource for people in immediate need while we work to get them connected with long term care and support,” Garcia said. “We are beginning to see resources coming from state and national government initiatives to help address the ongoing behavioral health staffing challenges in Benton County and beyond.” 

According to Garcia, the Crisis Center will open its doors in spring 2025 and will be available 24/7 and 365 days a year; it will provide services to patients of all ages without appointment, regardless of ability to pay, no appointment needed. The BCCC is a “voluntary walk-in treatment-centered facility” that will help stabilize people experiencing mental health crises, and provide referrals and ongoing support.

“It is designed to serve anyone who needs a break from stressors to be connected to services and support,” Garcia explained. “It will have a “no-wrong door” approach to support individuals who are having mental health crises for any number of reasons.” 

Care offered may last anywhere from a couple of hours up to 29 days, and the center will assist in handing clients off to ongoing services once discharged. Beyond the impact on individual clients, the center will also help to reduce emergency room visits and negative interactions between law enforcement and people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Garcia said that Benton County Behavioral Health will move its current services to the new center, allowing more room for expansion of future staff and services. The two-story, 8,000 square-foot facility received an initial $7.7 million in federal and state funding back in 2022.

“The same year, BCBH formed a design advisory committee to help inform the design process,” Garcia said, “by providing a clear understanding of the unique needs of Benton County residents and what can be accomplished with the new crisis center.”

According to Benton County, facility will be ADA accessible, centrally located and will feature “trauma-informed furnishings and design.”

Once the funding was secured and a location chosen, the years-long concept of a crisis center became a reality at last, Garcia said. Meanwhile, Benton County assessed the criminal justice system to find the gaps in substance abuse treatment and mental health care.

“The assessment found that a significant number of individuals experience past trauma, and are challenged by mental health, addictions, and intellectual disabilities, resulting in unnecessary engagement with the justice system,” Garcia explained. “Benton County leadership, staff, and community partners are committed to continue implementing the findings and seeking sustainable funding to continue serving our community.”

As the Crisis Center is being built at 240 NW 4th Street in Corvallis, Garcia said Benton County is planning their operations and staffing needs and will open recruitments for Qualified Mental Health Professionals and Associates, and Crisis Technicians in early 2025. 

Part of the requirements for a QMHP in Oregon include a bachelor’s degree and license in nursing; or a graduate degree in psychology, social work, a behavioral science field, or recreational, art, or music therapy. 

These openings may provide opportunities for current and future students in Oregon State University’s psychology department, which offers undergrad minors, bachelor’s,  and doctorate degrees.

According to Garcia, in the meantime, current mental health crisis services available to Benton County residents include:

  • Benton County Behavioral Health Crisis Services: 
    • 24-hour crisis phone line: 1-888-232-7192 
      • Over the phone crisis counseling with a behavioral health provider 
      • 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year 
      • All ages 
    • Walk-in (no appointment needed) crisis counseling services 
      • Visit face-to-face with a behavioral health provider 
      • 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday, excluding holidays 
      • Benton County Humphrey Hoyer Building located at 557 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis, OR 97330 
      • All ages
    • Crisis, Outreach, Response, and Engagement (CORE)  
      • Co-response with Corvallis Police Dept. to respond to police calls related to mental health. 
    • Mobile Crisis Team 
      • Provides crisis intervention services out in the community through partnerships with other local government agencies & community-based organizations. 
    • Additional mental health crisis resources: 
      • National mental health crisis hotline: 988 
        • If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat live at 
      • Crisis Text Line 
        • Text OREGON to 741741 for 24/7, confidential free crisis counseling. 
      • Youth Line
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