Clinic hallway

Why We Need Mental Health Crisis Centers

A call comes into dispatch from a concerned neighbor regarding a disturbance next door. Dispatch notifies police, and one of the department’s crisis intervention trained officers is also radioed to respond to the site. By the time she gets there, she encounters a fellow officer headed out of the home.

“I’m sure glad you’re here,” the officers exclaimed,

“He is very worked up.”

“What’s his name?” the intervention officer asks.

“I didn’t ask,” the other officer replies.

The crisis officer proceeds into the home to find a visibly agitated man. In a tone lower than the man’s, she begins to address him. “Hi, my name is Lisa. I want to help you if I can. Can you tell me your name?”

Gradually, the situation de-escalates. Officer Lisa talks with the man to learn more about the issues he’s been dealing with and what was explicitly troublesome. They agree that it’s a good idea if he doesn’t spend the night at home. She begins to describe a crisis center in the local area. She explains that individuals at the center are equipped with resources to help him.

That single interaction may likely have changed the trajectory of one man’s life. There are many instances in which similar interventions, training and resources could positively impact the residents of your communities. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 1 in 8 visits to U.S. emergency departments are related to mental and substance abuse disorders. Over the past several years, awareness has grown relative to the prevalence and effects of mental illness in the United States; however, the responses to this reality are wide ranging relative to their approach and effectiveness.

Among these responses, there is substantial evidence that mental health crisis centers’ introduction significantly contributes to improving communities by providing critical outreach and support to persons affected by mental illness. Mental health crisis centers are also responsible for relieving a burden on emergency departments, criminal justice systems and correctional facilities. Each year, depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity. Therefore, developing more mental health crisis centers nationwide will help address the ripple effect of inadequate resources.

You can read the full white paper article on mental health center architecture here

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