In the City of Saint Louis and Saint Louis County, many individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) and problematic substance use (SU) are not being adequately treated, resulting in an increased number of encounters in emergency departments (ED) and the criminal justice system. These systems may not be the appropriate settings for all individuals with SMI and SU to receive support and treatment.

In November 2017, the Saint Louis Metropolitan Hospital Council formally requested that the RHC lead a community process to explore the feasibility of building a regional Behavioral Health Assessment and Triage Center (BHATC) that could provide comprehensive care, improve community health, and result in system-wide cost-savings. The Commission approved RHC’s lead role in the planning process, and the BHATC Planning Team was formed.

The RHC completed the Behavioral Health Assessment and Triage Center Feasibility Study: Current State Assessment in January 2019. Key results are summarized in the infographic below.  Click here for the full assessment.

In response to the key challenges outlined in the Current State Assessment, Commissioners noted that an assessment and triage center might not be an effective solution in isolation without “back-end” behavioral health system reform. Commissioners voted to spend time understanding the system-wide changes proposed by the Behavioral Health Network (BHN) Visioning Initiative, before deciding whether to proceed with designing an assessment and triage center.

In July 2019, based on the BHATC Planning Team’s feedback, the BHATC planning process and the Visioning work merged efforts, and ongoing work will continue to be led by the BHN.  To learn more about the BHN Visioning Initiative, please click here.

To learn more about the study, please contact Angela Brown (