Flint, MI—The Genesee Health System (GHS) is extending the opening hours of its in-person urgent care services into the weekends.

Beginning on Feb. 4, 2023, the site of GHS’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC), located at 422 W. 4th Ave. in Flint, Mich., will open at 10 a.m. and accept last visits by 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

“We see that there is great community need,” said Jennifer McCarty, chief operations officer at GHS. “We know that that need extends beyond traditional business hours and we want to be able to support people at times when they need us.” 

According to McCarty, the BHUC will start off by offering limited in-person services during its extended hours. That includes access to a mental health professional who can offer therapeutic crisis intervention or a listening ear, and if needed, determine whether further care and support is necessary, she explained. 

“Our hope would be to continue to expand that out to be able to offer more full scale services on the weekends … and it’s our goal also, over time, to continue to grow and expand our hours,” McCarty said. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the BHUC first began offering community members virtual services, mostly through video chat with a mental health professional. The physical site of BHUC then opened in October 2021.

Prior to the launch of the BHUC in September 2020, McCarty said needs assessments conducted by GHS and other organizations showed gaps in crisis support. The BHUC aims to fill those gaps, she noted, with demand for its services doubling since August 2022.

“Essentially, people had two choices if they had a mental health crisis,” McCarty said. “They could go to an emergency room, or, if law enforcement is involved, they may go to jail. We knew that that wasn’t a good model for providing our community support during sometimes their most difficult time.”

The BHUC is available for support to people experiencing a mental health crisis that could lead to harm to themselves or others, or problems with daily functioning. Those with mental health-related symptoms such as anxiety, depression, psychosis and mood swings can seek help from the BHUC, according to Carrier Chanter, director of prevention, health and wellness at GHS.

BHUC’s services are free to people with or without insurance, a GHS press release states. Aside from the urgent care’s new weekend hours, BHUC in-person services are available Monday through Friday starting at 8 a.m. with last visits accepted by 10:30 p.m. Virtual services are available 24/7 throughout the year.

The GHS 24/7 Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-810-257-3740, or text FLINT to 741741 for its Crisis Text Line. 

The national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is also available for individuals in need of mental health support.

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...