Helen Ross McNabb recently opened its new Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC), which was created to provide an alternative to incarceration for individuals who are charged with a misdemeanor; who exhibit symptoms of mental illness, substance abuse, and similar disorders; who are nonviolent; and who might respond positively to treatment.


Both the City of Knoxville and Knox County played roles in the creation of the new facility, which was dedicated and opened earlier this year. The program, which is voluntary, calls for individuals to stay at the facility for up to 72 hours while they stabilize and learn about available options. The goal is to provide ongoing case management services to those who wish to make a change in their lives.


Located on Ball Camp Pike, the BHUCC engendered lots of community concern when it was proposed last year. Now that it is open, and in response to continued questions, the Office of Neighborhoods is conducting a community meeting about the BHUCC at 7 p.m. this coming Thursday evening, May 10, at Third Creek Baptist Church, 4917 Western Avenue. All are welcome. The meeting will end by 8:30 p.m.


Making brief presentations will be Jerry Vagnier, executive director of Helen Ross McNabb; Randy Nichols, special counsel to Knox County Sheriff Jimmy Jones; and Captain Don Jones, patrol division captain, Knoxville Police Department. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session.