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Grand opening

Police Chief Ted Paxton and Sheriff Ron Tippett cut the ribbon for the Rural Access Center.

VINTON – Dozens of people gathered Wednesday at the Benton County Service Center for the Rural Access Center open house.

Benton County Sheriff Ron Tippett and Vinton Police Chief Ted Paxton cut a ribbon for the new office in the former West School.

Among those joining them were State Sen. Liz Mathis, Benton County Supervisors Tracy Sellers, Rick Primmer and Gary Bierschenk, Clerk of the Courts Julie Hessenius, Auditor Hayley Rippel, Veteran Service Officer Toni Parizek and commanders of various county veterans organizations.

County, law enforcement and others have been involved in developing the center and are often impacted by the need for mental health services.

Parizek and the veterans dedicated a flag pole as part of the event. Veterans launched four months ago, the Rural Access Center (RAC), which provides essential and timely mental health support in the Benton County area through a collaboration with various community service providers. RAC can offer a rapid response to those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Services include:

individualized assistance to access mental health services;

makes referrals to community service providers based on identified needs;

a crisis counselor is available to help defuse a situation and provide immediate crisis counseling;

Mobile Crisis outreach provides one-site intervention to individuals in Benton County 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

RAC Partners include:

Benton County Law Enforcement, East Central Region for Mental Health and Disability Services, Foundation 2, The Department of Correctional Services, Benton County Social Services, Plugged in Iowa, Veteran Affairs of Benton County, Abbee Center for Mental Health, Area Substance Abuse Council, Penn Center, Hillcrest Family Service.