The word triage is derived from a French word meaning to sort. When you hear about triage during a war or military action, it means a point of first contact for people needing treatment, a place where the most severe cases are determined and attended to, then referred on.

Sioux Falls has proactively taken a step toward providing individuals battling with non-violent mental health struggles and addiction issues a place to turn to knowing that they will find a safe haven. The name for our city's triage center is The Link and adequately describes its mission.

People can find around-the-clock urgent care for mental health crisis situations, also detoxing and sobering services, as well as a short-term treatment for alcohol and substance abuse. Each case will be managed and patients will be referred for more extensive treatment, when needed, for mental illness and Substance Use Disorders (SUD).

On Wednesday, August 26, The Link got a financial boost from the Helmsley Charitable Trust in the amount of $500,000. These funds will cover construction costs as the former City Annex building (132 N. Dakota Avenue) undergoes a renovation transformation, into a space where people who don't know where to turn, can find help in the form of immediate treatment or referral to many other support services.

The projected opening date is sometime in early 2021. In Mayor Paul Ten Haken's monthly column he said:

The continued challenges we see in our community resulting from narcotics and chemical addiction are another reason why the work of The Link is so important right now. We must continue to look not only at measures of enforcement surrounding narcotics but also at options for education, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Just in case you're wondering if there is truly a need for this type of medical facility in Sioux Falls,  a 2018 Minnehaha County report indicated that within the Sioux Falls metro area alone, there were over 10,000 adults with a serious mental illness.

This report also found that over 45,000 people had a mental illness of any kind and 21,615 have a substance use disorder. And this was two years ago! When you take into consideration the kind of anxiety and depression being dealt with during our global pandemic, the need for this facility becomes even clearer.

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