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Artist’s rendering highlight future mental health crisis center

Apr 03, 2022 07:19PM ● By Bill Hardesty

An artist rendering of the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center scheduled to open in 2024 along 3300 South and between 900 West and 1000 West. (Courtesy of the HMHI)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

After the groundbreaking in May, the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) has taken some more steps forward with announcing a name and releasing artist renderings of their Mental Health Crisis Care Center (MHCCC).

The 78,000-square-foot MHCCC will be located between the Salt Lake County Metro Jail and the Men's Homeless Resource Center on 3300 South. It is scheduled to open in 2024. The MHCCC is phase one of the Campus of Hope, which will be a multi-phase, satellite expansion of HMHI on a 9-acre lot at 3300 South and 1000 West, according to the Mental Health Crisis Care Center website.

The location was chosen because it is in the central part of the valley and is reachable via multiple modes of transportation.

Influence of the Gardners

Kem and Carolyn Gardner gave $5 million to support the MHCCC. As a result, it will be named the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center. 

"Utah has the highest prevalence of mental illness in the country, impacting every family at some point," said Kem Gardner, philanthropist and chairman of Gardner Company. "We have 30 grandchildren and have not known where to go or what treatment options are available when some of them have struggled. We have to do something different and find better ways to treat youth and adults. This Center is so needed in our state. Carolyn and I are pleased to join the University, state legislature, Salt Lake County, and the Huntsman family in this important effort."

Kem and Carolyn are both actively engaged in community service and philanthropic work. From Intermountain Healthcare, United Way, the Utah Symphony, and especially the University of Utah, the Gardners' influence and generosity are reflected across Utah. 

"We are grateful to Kem and Carolyn for their wonderful donation," said Mark H. Rapaport, MD and CEO of HMHI. "They have a tremendous tradition of giving to the University of Utah and this community. The Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center will be a welcoming place for all adults experiencing a mental health crisis. Their gift will transform the lives of thousands of people who walk through the doors of the Center and help transform how we deliver mental health crisis care in our community and beyond."  


Since May, HMHI has met with community leaders and engaged hundreds of community groups, patients, and stakeholders in focus groups to understand the community's complex mental health needs and how the MHCCC will best serve people in crisis. HMHI also collaborated with consultants with expertise in mental health facility design to ensure that the building is welcoming and inclusive, honors the humanity of those who enter, and facilitates safe and effective care. 

"We are excited about the creative design, the input we received from the community, and the partnerships that have been brought together to make the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center truly leading-edge," Rapaport said. "The building is unique because it is the first to integrate community services, training, and research with crisis care. The programs and collaborations that will occur at the Center will ensure that patients and their families break the cycle of despair and receive the absolute best immediate help and ongoing support in one convenient location." 

The MHCCC will provide a compassionate evaluation of patients and families in psychiatric distress. The MHCCC services and stabilizing treatment will be individualized to meet patient needs and will include:   

·  23-hour treatment and observation stay for those in the 30-bed receiving center   

·  Short-term, rapid stabilization in-patient treatment in the 24-bed acute care unit    

·  Medication-assisted treatment clinic for individuals with opiate use disorders 

·  Intensive outpatient treatment for adults needing support for substance use disorders 

·  Mental health day treatment for adults that need more help than traditional outpatient care

In partnership with dozens of community stakeholders, an entire building floor will be dedicated to supporting services. These include: 

·  Free law clinic to remove legal barriers that disrupt families with a mental health crisis

·  Primary care and dental care clinics

·  Intensive case management 

·  Connections to existing community programs for housing, health care and employment 

Researchers will work alongside clinicians, patients and their families to develop evidence-based best practices for treatment and care and develop new approaches to helping people. The Center will also be a site for training future crisis care professionals, including social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and others.

"We're building a crisis care center that integrates training, research, and clinical care into one entity so that we are always evaluating and learning about the best approaches to treatment and creating new models of care," Rapaport said. "The Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center is a forward-thinking concept, and what we are building is not being done anywhere else."