Living Room Wellness Center
The Living Room Wellness Center (LRWC) at the Independence Center provides a safe comfortable, inviting environment where skilled Certified Recovery Support Specialists (CRSS) provide crisis intervention referrals and other needed services for guests experiencing a crisis. The Living Room is an alternative to the emergency room for guests with increased symptoms or near a mental health crisis. The expanded LRWC launched in August 2021 from a collaboration of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Independence Center, the Sheriff’s Office, and the generous donations of the MacArthur Foundation, the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, and an anonymous funder. The collaboration provides for a law enforcement drop-off component, expanded staffing of the LRWC, and 24/7 operation of the center.
Since 2022, our office has trained over 350 officers in more than 30 trainings explaining the drop-off procedures and protocols for The Living Room Wellness Center. The 10-15 minutes it takes for law enforcement to provide a warm hand off the guest at LRWC allows the officer to return to their duties quicker, and thus making Lake County safer and fairer.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies have successfully transported over 40 people to the Living Room Wellness Center since the center opened to law enforcement in January of 2022. Additionally, there have been hundreds of walk-ins. Prior to its opening, the only place to take someone in crisis was to a hospital. The Living Room Wellness Center is part of our office’s diversion programs because mental illness should not be criminalized – ever.