After months of discussion, Williamson County commissioners voted at a meeting Tuesday morning to financially contribute to a 12-bed crisis stabilization unit for residents experiencing mental health issues.

Set to be housed within the Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute, the crisis stabilization unit will serve as a resource for people dealing with mental health problems whose needs cannot be met safely in residential service settings. The county will work with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services, a nonprofit that serves as an umbrella for community and mental health service.

The court voted to contribute $42,750 per month, or $513,000 per year. According to county documents, the contributions will be matched by state funds through a state grant derived from House Bill 13, enacted during the 85th state legislative session.

In 2017, Williamson County ranked fourth in statewide health rankings, but its numbers for mental health services were staggeringly low. According to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Williamson County had 1 provider for every 1,190 patients. Those designated as top-performing in the report operate at a ratio of 360-to-1.

“We, as partners with [Bluebonnet] on this, do appreciate the opportunity for these additional beds that we’ve so needed for so long,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, CSUs may be designed to admit patients, both voluntarily and involuntarily, when someone needs a safe, secure environment that is less restrictive than a hospital. The goal of a CSU is to stabilize the patient and get him or her back into the community quickly.