RCCI hosts behavioral health expert for crisis care insight

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Rapid City Collective Impact, in its mission to improve the community, hosted a behavioral health expert Thursday to share insight on the community's role in providing crisis care.

Dr. Gilbert Gonzales is the director of mental health for Bexar County, Texas, and he actually visited with RCCI back in 2011 to explain his Haven for Hope model.

Haven for Hope is a comprehensive health center in San Antonio, offering services for mental health, addiction and other issues to eventually lead folks to better lives. And now with Rapid City's plan to transform the old Native American University building into the Pennington County Health Facility, Gonzales returned to provide more guidance.

READ MORE: Collective Impact: Rapid City in state of crisis

"Persons with mental illness and substance abuse issues can and do lead a productive life. How does that happen? It happens through treatment. And the second point I'd like to make is treatment works,” Gonzales said. “And I have been fortunate enough to see that, to see folks that are at the hardest parts of their lives to get treatment, to get support, to get someone coming together to say, 'We understand, and we're going to help you through this.'"

Gonzales said the Haven model is dependent upon collaboration between city entities, something RCCI has already studied extensively.

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