GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services opened its Psychiatric Urgent Care Center on Monday. 

The center is meant to provide same-day assessment and treatment for people experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms who can’t wait for routine outpatient services, a common problem for patients seeking mental health treatment. The goal is to reduce the number of hospitalizations due to mental health. 

“This is a national issue and we’re going to take sort of a national level thinking and bring it here to West Michigan, to serve the community better,” said Pine Rest President and CEO Mark Eastburg.

Grand Rapids area hospitals had 14,623 behavioral health visits to emergency rooms in 2016, according to Pine Rest.

The Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is expected to reduce wait times for psychiatric assessments and will provide clinical services in a calm environment for those experiencing psychiatric symptoms such as: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, disturbing thoughts, acute grief reactions, trouble managing daily activities and substance abuse disorders.  

“The whole idea is that it’s like an urgent care center that we might experience for a sprained ankle or an ear infection or something like that,” Eastburg said. “It doesn’t quite need the emergency room, but you need to get it taken care of today. You don’t want to wait a week to get that ankle looked at. Same thing for someone experiencing this level of depression.” 

Megan Zambiasi, director of Pine Rest’s Psychiatric Urgent Care, says feelings of depression or anxiety are two symptoms to consider when deciding to go to psychiatric urgent care.

“Things have gotten bad enough that it’s impacting your daily life. Maybe you’re having trouble getting to work, or you’ve been pretty snappy with your family,” Zambiasi said.

While you may have simply dealt with those symptoms in the past, just like a bad cold, sometimes those symptoms keep coming back.  

“If you don’t get your cold treated initially, sometimes that could lead to a really nasty sinus infection or pneumonia or some other kind of thing. We’re hoping to get it before it gets to that point,”  Zambiasi said.

Anyone experiencing an acute medical issue should go to a medical urgent care or emergency room. 
The center will serve adults ages 18 to 65, but if the concept is successful, the service could expand. 

“We’re certainly really interested in how can we help kids and older adults as well,” Eastburg said.

It’s located on the Pine Rest Cutlerville Campus, located at 300 68th Street SE in Grand Rapids. It will be open for assessment seven days a week: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Most commercial insurance, Medicare and Medicaid health plans cover the services offered at the center. Pine Rest suggests people with Medicaid to call ahead because some plans require authorization for services. 

The center is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team specifically trained to provide psychiatric assessments. Pine Rest anticipates serving an average of 40 people per day. 

For more information on the center or to make an appointment, call the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center at 616.455.9200. Walk-ins are also welcome. Pine Rest has posted “Know Before You Go” information on its website.