SSM Health to open first-of-its-kind mental health treatment unit in Wisconsin

RIPON, Wis. – SSM health is set to open Wisconsin’s first-ever day stabilization unit based at its hospital in Fond du Lac County.

The newly remodeled unit, a former Obstetrics unit at SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital, will cater to patients who have low-risk mental health or substance use concerns that don’t qualify for inpatient care but still need the extra help.

“In many cases, though they can’t be admitted into a hospital, they face great uncertainties, returning home without guidance and important resources set in place for them,” said Tiffany Parker, Director of SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac Region Behavioral Health Hospital-Based Services.

On Monday morning, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers joined SSM Health hospital leadership on a tour of the facility to check out the state’s $158,000 investment through a Department of Administration Healthcare Infrastructure grant, which was used to help launch the program.

“If we want to see Wisconsin communities succeed for years to come, then we need to make these investments today to build long-term sustainable well-being for tomorrow,” Gov. Evers said. “That’s exactly what we are here to celebrate today.”

Once fully staffed, Ripon Community Hospital’s newest space will allow for eight patients at a time, 7 days a week, to take part in the voluntary program.

As part of the program, patients aged 16 to 60 complete an assessment, brief therapy, and connect with case management staff about the next steps while they wait for outpatient services, which Parker said can often take 6 months or longer.

Once patients complete the 23 hours of treatment at the day stabilization unit, they can continue to come back for 12 to 14 group therapy sessions.

Ripon Community Hospital leadership said their patient base goes in any direction up to 150 miles away, well beyond Fond du Lac county.