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EDITORIAL: Award highlights mental health services

Free Press - 3/17/2020

Mar. 16--Getting quick, professional response when needed in the face of a mental health crisis is key to helping people before their condition worsens.

Mankato is fortunate to have that kind of dependable help available in those times of crisis, and a local provider of those services is getting well-deserved notice from the state of Minnesota. Horizon Homes has received an award of excellence from the Department of Human Services.

Horizon took over operation of the South Central Crisis Center from the state, moved to a new, larger building that ensures more client privacy and is the base of the Horizon Homes Mobile Crisis Team. In 2019 the crisis center served just under 600 people from a 10-county region.

The beauty of the mobile unit is that it can respond to people wherever they are, including at a residence or residential facility, the emergency room or even the jail. In fact Horizon Homes' participation in a jail-diversion program is responsible for some of the attention from the state.

It is a partner in the Yellow Line Project, which works with law enforcement, legal teams and social services to proactively help people accused of low-level, nonviolent crimes who the county believes could use treatment more than jail time.

Blue Earth County Human Services Director Phil Claussen nominated Horizon Homes for the excellence award: "Horizon Homes has a very impressive history of bringing innovation to our community-based care model," he wrote.

The collaborative approach is so important in tackling complicated, multi-faceted situations and problems -- a method that can improve people's lives as well as save public money in the long run.

In Mental Health America's annual State of Mental Health Report, Minnesota ranked sixth in lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care. Horizon Homes prioritizing that access makes the Mankato area a better place to live because of the attention it pays to mental health.

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(c)2020 The Free Press (Mankato, Minn.)

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