Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for mental health services on Milwaukee’s North Side has risen.
Annie Carrell, director of behavioral health services at Outreach Community Health Centers, said patients have been dealing with wait times to be connected to services. The wait for a referral can be as long as a month, she said.
In an attempt to expand services, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division last month established Access Clinic East at 210 W. Capitol Drive in a shared space with Outreach’s Behavioral Health Clinic.
The clinic provides walk-in and short-term psychiatric care, offers telehealth options and performs mental health assessments over the phone.
Carrell said the walk-in option is especially important because some residents face transportation and other challenges.
“Even the statement of having to ask for help is a big barrier,” Carrell said.
Kenneth Ginlack, director of outpatient treatment programs at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, said the clinic’s location is important because it moves services away from the Behavioral Health Division on West Watertown Plank Road.
“The big deal here is that we’re moving into the community,” Ginlack said.
Tanya Cummings, crisis services manager at Access Clinic East, said the clinic provides services for the uninsured, underinsured and those between providers.
Cummings said this includes short-term psychotherapy and prescriptions that can be accessed on the same day. The clinic averages about four assessments per day, she said.
The goal is to provide temporary support until a long-term provider can be established or a person’s needs have been adequately met. Each case is different, she said.
“They may need to be connected with a clinician long term,” Cummings said. “Some people may just be looking for therapy.”
About Access Clinic East
- Access Clinic East and the Outreach Behavioral Health Clinic are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-ins at Access Clinic East last from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Access Clinic East can be reached at (414) 257-7665. Outreach Behavioral Health Clinic can be reached at (414) 727-6320.
- Access Clinic East serves both insured and uninsured Milwaukee County residents. No patients are denied services because they are unable to pay. Those with insurance should consult their insurance provider and/or primary care physician. But the county offers bridge services to residents until they are able to get an appointment with their long-term provider.