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McNabb CenterThe McNabb Center is proud to announce the official opening of the EmPATH unit, a first-of-its-kind resource in Tennessee for individuals facing a behavioral health crisis. The Emergency Psychiatric Assessment, Treatment and Healing (EmPATH) unit is designed to offer rapid, accessible services in a calm, supportive environment. Open 24/7, the unit welcomes adults 18 and older who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. EmPATH provides evaluation, medication and therapeutic support.

“This is a transformative moment for our community, this unit is the result of a remarkable collaboration between our local hospitals, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the McNabb Center. The EmPATH unit represents our shared commitment to providing compassionate, immediate care for those in need. The EmPATH unit is more than just 16 beds; it’s a transformative approach to mental health care. This is a calming environment, designed to stabilize individuals in crisis within 23 hours. At full capacity, we anticipate serving 6,000 people annually,” says Mona Blanton-Kitts, McNabb Center CEO.

The comprehensive program includes a walk-in triage/reception center and a dedicated, multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, master’s level clinicians, nurses, mental health technicians and peer specialists.

“We know that this investment is going to make a difference for the people that are here,” said Marie Williams, the Tennessee Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “We also know that it’s going to make a difference for their families and their loved ones. And we know that this is going to be a model that we will replicate across this state, because when McNabb is running it, it’s done right.”

EmPATH’s creation is a response to a critical community need. Three and a half years ago, area hospitals, Knoxville and Knox County mayors, the commissioner and McNabb Center representatives met with the governor to advocate for a solution to the growing demand for mental health services. “While we have crisis stabilization units, mobile crisis units and other initiatives, more needs to be done,” Blanton-Kitts explained. “This unit is another step in our ongoing commitment to provide comprehensive mental health care.”

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Research shows that 75% or more of psychiatric crises can be stabilized within 24 hours,” Blanton-Kitts stated. “Here, services begin immediately upon arrival. We provide medical care, including medication, and wrap-around services that follow patients into the community, ensuring they find stable housing and support.” The EmPATH Unit opened in early June and is available for walk-ins 24/7, 365 days a year.