Mayor Wheeler announces new phase of work on the Behavioral Health Emergency Coordination Network (BHECN)

News Article

Mayor Wheeler announced a new phase of work on the Behavioral Health Emergency Coordination Network (BHECN) on May 24, 2022 in partnership with Multnomah County. The City and County will work together to open a stabilization center in 2023.

"We've reached an exciting inflection point in bringing BHECN to fruition. I am grateful to be launching this next phase of work alongside Chair Kafoury, and am looking forward to embarking on this journey of realizing a new stabilization model with our BHECN partners," Mayor Wheeler said. 

The current behavioral health system is insufficient to meet the needs of the community. BHECN is a cross-sector collaboration between local government agencies, community-based organizations, healthcare and behavioral health service providers, public safety, and others. Together, these community members are focused on filling critical gaps in Portland’s crisis response system that prevent people experiencing mental health or substance use crises from getting the help they need, when they need it, in the safest and most supportive environment possible.

Through a collaborative partnership with hundreds of stakeholders, work will be done to finalize a model for stabilization that is trauma informed, and incorporates the perspective of peers and consumers.

In addition to opening a stabilization center, the City and County will continue to work on other portions of the BHECN project. These include concepts such as a new detox and respite space, expanded behavioral health crisis triage services, and a coordinated system for referring people from these crisis spaces to longer term stabilization options.