Crisis response center services return to West Philly as new location opens at former Mercy Philadelphia Hospital site

From Philly and the Pa. suburbs to South Jersey and Delaware, what would you like WHYY News to cover? Let us know!

Near the corner of 53rd Street and Cedar Avenue, Sebastian Ramagnano stood outside a multi-story gray building and looked up at new blue signs that read: Adult Crisis Response Center – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

“As soon as we put these signs up, we covered them,” Ramagnano, associate executive hospital director, said. “And even with them being covered, we’ve already had people asking to get in.”

For the first time in three and a half years, people in West Philadelphia who experience a mental health or substance use emergency will be able to go to a designated crisis response center in their own backyard.

The center officially opened to patients Tuesday morning. It’s operated by Penn Medicine at the health system’s Cedar Avenue hospital campus, which is the site of the former Mercy Philadelphia Hospital.

The new location, open 24/7, marks the city’s fifth adult crisis response center and returns services to West Philadelphia that were lost after Mercy closed a previous unit in March 2020.

“The reason that we were so focused on getting this facility here in West Philadelphia is to be able to connect our West Philadelphia residents to services in West Philadelphia,” said George Shafer, nursing clinical director at Penn Medicine. “You make an appointment for somebody in northeast Philadelphia, it might as well be on the other side of the world.”

  • September 12, 2023
  • Articles,
  • This post was written by