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Bert Nash Center, O’Connell Children’s Shelter to collaborate on new youth crisis continuum of care


Bert Nash Center CEO Patrick Schmitz and Gina Meier-Hummel, Executive Director of O’Connell Children’s Shelter

Two mental healthcare organizations with about 120 years combined experience in the community are partnering together on a new youth crisis continuum of care.


With the development of this new youth crisis system, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and O’Connell Children’s Shelter, two longtime agencies, are collaborating to address the acute behavioral health needs of youth and families in Douglas County. The new crisis continuum of care will integrate Bert Nash Center’s Mobile Response Team, the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County and eventually the new youth recovery center planned for 3500 Clinton Place.


“This partnership is a belief that we are better together,” said Bert Nash Center CEO Patrick Schmitz. “Along with O’Connell Children’s Shelter, we are developing a youth crisis system that will provide immediate support, resources and intervention for youth experiencing crisis situations. Both agencies will work together to provide community-based, wrap-around services for youth and their families.”


Gina Meier-Hummel, Executive Director of O’Connell Children’s Shelter, said, “We are looking forward to expanding the continuum of services we offer and can’t think of a more important issue to address for our community’s children, youth, and families.”


Bert Nash Center and O’Connell Children’s Shelter recently received a Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services grant in the amount of $253,561 to go toward hiring a director and program manager for the youth crisis continuum of care. The hope is to have this new system of care and facility fully operational in early 2025.


“As we expand and integrate crisis response, we plan to engage our community partners and request their support in this exciting opportunity for youth in crisis,” said Ryan Sztorch, the Bert Nash Center’s Senior Director of Crisis Services. “Bert Nash Center and O’Connell Children’s Shelter are excited for this opportunity to create, design, and implement new programing that will increase accessibility and improve outcomes for clients in crisis and their families.”

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