RIPON — Gov. Tony Evers today joined leaders from SSM Health and the Ripon community for a ribbon cutting celebrating the new mental health outpatient Day Stabilization Services at SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital. The new unit will provide assistance, services, and support for up to 23 hours for individuals experiencing mental health crises, filling a critical gap in care regionally and for the state.
The project was supported by a $158,000 grant from Gov. Evers’ Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Grant Program, as announced earlier this year. Part of a more than $300 million investment allocated by the governor for community capital projects statewide, the Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Grant Program was first announced in August 2021 alongside the Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant Program for transformational capital projects to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare in communities across the state.
“The Healthcare Infrastructure grants were designed to help lay the foundation for healthier communities and a stronger state by addressing mental and behavioral health challenges, bridging rural healthcare gaps, expanding care options for Wisconsinites, and building the local infrastructure needed to tackle any health-related crisis that comes our way,” said Gov. Evers. “That’s exactly what this new unit at the SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital will do. We know folks across our state need these mental and behavioral health services perhaps now more than ever, and I am proud the state could help support SSM Health to bring this unit to fruition for the folks in Fond du Lac County and the surrounding area.”
SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital will become the first SSM Health facility, both regionally and systemwide, to offer this innovative service, assisting individuals in resolving their crisis and making appropriate community connections for ongoing services. As the need for mental health services continues to rise, the Day Stabilization Services unit will help offset the high demand for psychiatry and outpatient mental health services which often have waitlists of six to eight months or longer. The new Day Stabilization Services unit is set to open later this fall.
“I’m so humbled by all the work that has gone into the planning and implementation of this essential program—not only for the immediate Ripon community but for those within our service area that will benefit from our Day Stabilization Services a short time from now,” says DeAnn Thurmer, SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital president. “We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from Governor Tony Evers and the state of Wisconsin, as well as The Foundation for Ripon Medical Center, and the enthusiastic welcome from our community partners who will be instrumental in connecting individuals facing mental health concerns with our team.”
“This new and innovative program reflects SSM Health’s goal to talk more openly about mental health and shift the culture—people need to understand it is OK to not be OK,” said Sue Anderson, SSM Health Wisconsin Regional president. “We need to increase our ability to be self-aware, recognize the signs of mental health distress, and not be afraid to speak up.”
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five people live with a mental health condition, or more than 51 million people.
The Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Investment Grant Program was administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) and funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), with grants ranging in size from $158,000 to a maximum of $20 million. Applications opened on Oct. 26, 2021, and closed on Nov. 30, 2021. In March, the governor visited grant recipients to highlight projects that will expand healthcare access for communities across the state, including stops in Appleton, Hillsboro, Park Falls, Racine, and Janesville. A full list of grant awardees and additional information can be found on the program website. An online version of this release is available here.