In Austin, when a person dials 911, the call taker asks, “Are you calling for police, fire, EMS, or mental health services?” Adding mental health as an option is groundbreaking and part of the city’s crisis call diversion initiative where clinicians are co-located on the 911 call center’s operations floor.
“Every mobile crisis provider is like a snowflake,” says Preston Looper, because of gaps in protocols, availability, consistency, and funding. With 988 on the horizon, he points out that now is the time to standardize the service.
Judy Fitzgerald, the commissioner of DBHDD, and Debbie Atkins, director of Crisis Coordination at DBHDD, share Georgia’s crisis system transformation and the lessons they’ve learned in anticipation of 988.
When in a psychiatric crisis, who a person of color encounters matters, says Victor Armstrong. He hopes change is on the horizon with 988 but notes it must coincide with advancing crisis care. Otherwise, telling people not to call 911 without an adequate solution leaves people in crisis and their
Megan Gleason, LCSW, is the metro Atlanta regional manager for the Behavioral Health Link (BHL) blended mobile crisis program, a 24-hour response service that covers the vast majority of Georgia counties. Earlier this year, she participated in the FBI Citizens Academy, a selective 6-8 week program that gives leaders a
Erica Chestnut-Ramirez says mobile crisis is person-centered and therapeutic and has a high stabilization rate. “That means we can keep people in the community, and they don’t have to go to higher level, higher-cost services.”
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