GUIDELINK CENTER FAQ

Welcome to GuideLink. You’ve come to the right place.

Whenever you face a mental health or substance use crisis, GuideLink Center offers a safe and welcoming space to get urgent care and counseling. Whether you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, emotional distress, or struggling with substance use—we can help.

GuideLink Center is open 24/7, and we never turn away anyone based on their ability to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions

While every visit to GuideLink is unique, our process offers a consistent experience so there are no unwelcome surprises:

  1. Taking the first step.

    As soon as you walk through our doors, you’ll be greeted by our friendly and compassionate staff. Next, a triage counselor will speak with you to understand your needs and the reason for your visit.

  2. Assessment.

    Once we know more about your situation assess your health needs, we’ll recommend the most appropriate service available at our facility. If our staff determines you need more care than we can offer onsite, we will help arrange for transportation to an emergency room or another more appropriate facility.

  3. Treatment.

    For some, treatment consists of a one-time crisis counseling session, after which they return home with resources and follow-up plans. For others, this might include an overnight stay in one of our treatment units.

    For those facing severe distress, mental health symptoms, or suicidal thoughts, we offer two crisis service levels: Crisis Observation and Crisis Stabilization.

    Individuals in Crisis Observation stay in close contact with a nurse or support staff in a designated area built for their comfort and safety.

    Crisis Stabilization is for individuals who have been assessed to need less medical supervision and can be safe in their own rooms. In some instances, individuals begin their stay in Crisis Observation then transfer to Crisis Stabilization, where they can receive treatment for up to 5 days based on medical necessity.

    During your stay in either unit, you will be provided with compassionate counseling, support, and treatment.

    For individuals experiencing a substance use crisis, our Sobering Unit offers a medically supervised staff and a safe space to sober up (typically between 3-8 hours). This service is managed by paramedics and recovery assistants. Individuals who need medically monitored withdrawal management services (detox) will receive treatment from a nurse and recovery assistants in our Detox Unit.

    All of our services are offered on a voluntary basis, and you can leave at any time, for any reason.

  4. Follow-up support. Before leaving GuideLink, our staff will identify any unmet needs you may have and connect you to valuable resources in your community. These can help you continue your treatment, get peer-to -peer support, find safe housing, and so much more. We work directly with more than a dozen Community Partners and can refer you to as many services as you need.

Anyone over the age of 18 who is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis can access our services at any time, day or night. Our doors are always open, and there is no limit to how many times you can use our services.

You do not need to be a resident of Johnson County or even Iowa to get help at GuideLink.

We offer 24/7 care on a walk-in basis—that means we sometimes fill all available beds. When this happens, we may offer a referral to another crisis service in our region or make plans to help you safely return home.

We strongly recommend giving us a call before you arrive. Reach us any time at (319) 688-8000.

No matter what our availability is, everyone who walks into GuideLink can get an immediate mental health screening and receive crisis counseling, and we never send people back into the community without offering some form of support.

Some GuideLink services—including our Triage and Sobering Unit—are offered free of charge and you won’t be billed for your visit. Other services may bill your insurance or offer various funding sources or payment plans. We are also able to help people without insurance apply for Medicaid.

GuideLink never refuses services to anyone based on their inability to pay.

GuideLink is located on Southgate Avenue off of Highway 6, not far from downtown Iowa City. If you’re driving, you can park in the front parking lot, and there is also street parking available.

The building has two entrances, but to access GuideLink Center services, please use the door marked “300” that has the GuideLink Center sign. No matter what time of day or night you walk through the door, you’ll receive the same services, the same compassion, and the same high quality of care.

If you did not drive yourself or are unable to drive home, we will help you arrange for transportation to your home or to another safe space after your visit, so you never feel stranded.

You are NOT alone.

If you are struggling — we want to help!

There is no wrong reason to come to GuideLink. Even if we don’t offer the exact service you’re looking for, we can steer you in the right direction and connect you to other resources in the community.