By: Julie Murphy, Flagler County PIO
Flagler County and its partners SMA Healthcare and Flagler Health+ are hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Flagler Access Center, which will provide an open door for education, screening, and connection to behavioral healthcare services in the area. The event will be held at 10 a.m. January 11, 2022 at the center located at 103 E. Moody Boulevard, Bunnell.
“We are thrilled to be a partner in this initiative that will provide a connection for behavioral healthcare services for the citizens of Flagler County,” said SMA Healthcare CEO Ivan Cosimi. “We have been looking for ways to expand our scope of services in the county, and we are confident this partnership will allow us to do just that.”
Flagler County officials were notified in June that the state would fund its top legislative priority: $245,000 to create a mental health access point. The Board of County Commissioners pledged to bolster the funding by $300,000 with money made available by the federal government through the American Rescue Plan.
“Addressing behavioral health issues – including drug abuse and the suicide rate – have been a priority,” said County Administrator Heidi Petito. “This initial funding is allowing us and our private-provider partners to operate this new center without immediate concerns about grant writing or fundraising. This is a big first step to meeting our goals for the community.”
All Flagler County residents are eligible to receive services from the Flagler Access Center. Individuals who come to the center will be screened and connected to appropriate services.
“Flagler County has been advocating for a project of this nature, and has stepped up to provide a convenient location for access to these much-needed services,” Cosimi said, noting that SMA Healthcare will provide walk-in screenings, crisis response, care coordination, and linkage to the federal housing effort known as PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) immediately at this new location. “Flagler Health+ will provide services for its ‘Be Resilient and Voice Emotions’ (BRAVE) program, which encourages youth to engage with mental health services early on in their life.”
The center will also utilize other social service providers within the county to provide a continuum of care.
A second phase of services will eventually be offered at the Flagler Access Center once licensure for the new facility has been obtained.
Those services – currently being provided at the SMA Healthcare facility on Justice Lane – include mental health therapy and substance use disorder therapy. Services for both are provided through individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, individualized treatment plans, and treatment plan reviews.
“This is an important milestone for Flagler County,” Petito said. “This will allow us to better serve everyone in the community.”
The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting. Light refreshments will be served.