Mayor’s Monthly Column: Investing in the Struggling, Providing Hope Through The Link
The need for social justice reform continues to be brought to the forefront in our national conversation and in many communities within recent months. We’re fortunate that Sioux Falls has been proactive in that work for the past several years in many areas, one of them being the development of a community triage center—called The Link—to provide better access to health care and resources for individuals with mental health or addiction issues.
The Link will offer an innovative approach to address critical gaps in services for individuals with mental health and substance use challenges. The Link will be the first point of contact for those individuals to access treatment and referral to support services.
The Link—which will be located downtown in the former City Annex building at 132 North Dakota Avenue—is a collaboration between the City of Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, Avera Health, and Sanford Health. We have passed several milestones for the project in 2020; and with the announcement this week of a major gift from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to defray construction costs, we are one step closer to making the facility a reality and opening in early 2021.
Chances are you know someone—whether it’s a family member, friend, or acquaintance—who has needed help with mental illness or addiction. It’s a serious concern for many in our community and a need that only becomes more apparent as our city grows. According to the 2018 Minnehaha County Community Triage Center Baseline Data Report in the Sioux Falls metro area, an estimated 10,387 adults have a serious mental illness; 45,259 have any mental illness; and 21,615 have a substance use disorder. The need is real. The time for this work is now.
But oftentimes individuals don’t know where to seek treatment and end up misconnected to the care they need. They may end up regularly in places that make coordination of care difficult, like our emergency departments or jails. The Link community triage approach allows us to better meet those individuals’ needs and connect them with the appropriate services in a comfortable, safe environment.
The continued challenges we see in our community resulting from narcotics and chemical addiction are another reason why the work of The Link is so important right now. We must continue to look not only at measures of enforcement surrounding narcotics but also at options for education, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Stay tuned for more details over the next several months in advance of The Link opening. We look forward to being able to provide this vital service to the community, advancing our vision of One Sioux Falls.