Clarke Square Will Get New Clinic
Sixteenth Street Community Center’s eighth near south side health clinic opening.
“We were pretty small then,” said Schuller, who served various roles at the organization before becoming president and CEO in 2017.
That’s not the case anymore. Sixteenth Street recently announced that it will be opening an eighth clinic, to be located at 1635 W. National Ave. in Clarke Square. The new clinic will focus on providing same-day access to a variety of community-based behavioral and mental health services. It is scheduled to open in late 2020 and will serve at least 1,000 additional patients, Schuller said.
Both entities will provide walk-in services, including early intervention, substance use services, case management and other behavioral and mental health services, Schuller said. Another benefit, she said, will be that patients can work with care coordinators and receive peer services from someone who has experienced or experiences a mental illness.
“They can walk side by side with a person who is currently dealing with similar problems, and who is bilingual and better understands their culture,” Schuller said.
The goal is to help meet a significant increase in the demand for behavioral and mental health services over the past five to 10 years, she added. Last year, she said, Sixteenth Street served 40,000 clients and had over 150,000 visits, but it still had difficulty meeting the needs of those seeking help.
“People are more aware of mental illness, and there is also more acceptance of it. That has led to more demand and need for mental health services,” Schuller said.
Access to healthcare, mental health and substance abuse services were three of the top five health concerns facing the community, according the 2018-2019 Milwaukee County Community Health Needs Assessment.
Serving the community
In the past, many in the county received mental health services at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division complex on Watertown Plank Road. But several years ago, there was a push toward community-based mental healthcare, said Michael Lappen, behavioral health administrator for Milwaukee County.
“We wanted to provide access closer to where people live,” Lappen said.
Originally, the Behavioral Health Division considered opening county access hubs in Milwaukee’s Central City, but after discussions with the community and other stakeholders, leaders learned that people wanted care from places they were more familiar with and that the trusted, Lappen said.
“Sixteenth Street clinics are well established in the community and it’s a trusted place,” he said.
The latest news follows a late October announcement of another clinic, which also will be located in Clarke Square. It also will be funded through a multimillion dollar investment from Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. That clinic, located at 1135 S. Cesar Chavez Drive, will provide community-based primary care, dental hygiene and pharmacy services and also is expected to open in 2020.