Collier County's only emergency mental health facility has received a major grant to help them manage the ever-increasing demand for their services. The David Lawrence Center has been awarded $150,000 by the Schulze Family Foundation.
Nancy Dauphinais, Chief Operating Officer with the center, said that the number of people struggling with suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues are growing nationally, as well as in Collier. She points out that according to the Department of Children and Families, communities should have thirty beds for mental health patients for every 100,000 people.
"If you take that ratio, that means in Collier County, we would need over 100 Baker Act beds," Dauphinais said. "We have thirty."
She said the grant from the Schulze Family Foundation should make it easier for them to handle the overflow of patients that the David Lawrence Center has been experiencing.
"We can have individuals evaluated more quickly by psychiatrist, so they may not require admission to the unit," she said.
She said that staff often gets creative, bringing in portable beds.
But a proposed sales tax on November's ballot could provide extra funding for a new treatment facility.
"That would include a larger crisis stabilization unit and emergency services assessment center," Dauphinais said.
Until they're able to expand, Dauphinais said it's important to share the message of hope: that suicide is preventable.
"We have treatment that works," she said. "It's a matter of helping reduce the stigma, and increasing access to those life-saving services."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. It provides free, confidential support 24/7 for people in crisis.