Eau Claire County looks to add new mental health clinic - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire County looks to add new mental health clinic

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Eau Claire County (WQOW)- The need for more mental health care services is a story told time and again, not only in Eau Claire but all across the nation. Now, Eau Claire County is doing something about it.

As part of the 2018 budget proposal, county officials are looking to add a mental health clinic within the Eau Claire County Courthouse. It would entail adding four positions to the Human Services Department, including one manager and three therapists.

County staff said it would provide services for individuals already using other county services, like community support programs or child and family services. County staff said currently, those who use the services will utilize private sector care within the community or be forced to travel many miles away, often times at the cost of tax payers. The added service would make it easier for them to move throughout all county services, as well as get them the help they need quicker and cheaper.

The county said this addition would be a step toward tackling the shortage of mental health care, not only for those who use county services, but the whole community.

"The individuals that we deal with, and the greater public, have a hard time accessing mental health care. It's just not readily available, and if we can take a little bit of the pressure off some of those private clinics, that'll open the door for other individuals in the community to be able to also get mental health care," said Tom Wirth, the deputy director for Eau Claire County Human Services. "Individuals that come to the department and work with us are from all walks of life and all different types of people. And they deserve to have good, adequate, timely comprehensive care. We think by teaming them with a social worker, with other staff here at the department, we're going to be able to provide them with some excellent care."

County staff said if approved, the clinic would be located within the Human Services Department at the courthouse. 

The Eau Claire County Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the budget on November 7.

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