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The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Billings Clinic a $784,271 grant to assist in the completion of Billings Clinic’s new Psychiatric Stabilization Unit.

“This grant is transformative,” said Eric Arzubi, MD, chair of the Billings Clinic Psychiatric Department and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. “There’s no other way to say it. This investment is allowing Billings Clinic to introduce a new treatment approach to the region that is more appropriate for people experiencing a mental health crisis.”

Individuals in psychiatric crisis are often first seen in an emergency room, where they undergo medical and psychiatric evaluations before being referred to an on-call psychiatrist. This can lead to long waits in the emergency room, which can exacerbate patients’ psychiatric emergencies, delay implementation of treatment, and contribute to overcrowding in the Emergency Department.

“Providing the best care possible to patients in the appropriate setting is important, especially when a patient is in crisis,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Billings Clinic serves a broad geographic area and this new Psychiatric Stabilization Unit will provide immediate, essential services to patients from across the region facing psychiatric emergencies.”

The funds provided by the Helmsley Charitable Trust will go toward construction and furnishings for the Psychiatric Stabilization Unit, located in a remodeled space at the Billings Clinic Psychiatric Center.

Once completed, Billings Clinic’s Psychiatric Stabilization Unit will provide timely, specialized care for patients with urgent psychiatric conditions by allowing them to be clinically assessed by Emergency Department physicians and transferred to an environment that focuses exclusively on their psychiatric needs. The model of mental health care it will provide is unique in the region.

The unit will initially accommodate twelve adults and five youth patients with the capacity to expand in the future. The Helmsley grant will also help Billings Clinic share its experience with this treatment model with other organizations, especially in rural areas.

In 2016, Billings Clinic Foundation highlighted the urgent mental health needs in our community and region and raised $1 million at the Billings Clinic Classic. From the Classic, $750,000 in proceeds will fund an endowment that will support the Psychiatric Stabilization Unit in the future. Other significant donations toward this project include the Fortin Foundation of Florida, the Charles M. Bair Family Trust; and Stillwater Mining Company. The general contractor on the project is Jones Construction and the architectural firm is A & E Architects, PC.

Construction is underway and will open in early 2018.