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Describing Crisis Stabilization Units

JSP Staff

When individuals are in a behavioral health crisis (e.g. psychiatric or substance use related), behavioral health workers & social workers, clinicians, paramedics, and/or police may respond to the event. Who responds to these events, or the combination of practitioners who respond to these events, varies by jurisdiction based upon funding, resources, personnel, and legal and logistical concerns. Previously, when police responded to crisis events, they traditionally had only two options: take someone to the emergency room, or take someone to jail. Crisis Stabilization Units (CSUs) provide police with a third option. CSUs are community-based temporary treatment centers (typically maximum of 14 days) that provide a range of temporary in-patient treatment services.

This resource discusses CSUs in the context of JSP’s research in Pima County. It describes Pima’s Crisis Response Center as an example of a CSU and explores impacts of the center.