Mental illness and addiction can lead to serious crisis situations, and Delaware County now has mobile crisis units that can intervene around the clock.
Two crisis teams can visit people’s homes, schools, or treatment facilities — and mental health counselors will evaluate people on site, and recommend other help available.
Jonna DiStefano, the administrator for the Office of Behavioral Health in Delaware County, says the goal of the crisis teams is to deescalate situations.
“Everybody kind of calm down, take a deep breath, let’s figure out what the next steps should be,” she said. “We’ll do the evaluation on the individual and the family, to just really assess what the needs are.”
The members of the crisis team are mental health counselors, but their role here is to facilitate, rather than offer on-location therapy.
DiStefano says families often get overwhelmed when the condition of a loved one is worsening. “They may call the police, or just automatically take the person down to the crisis center,” said DiStefano. “Not having the tools to deal with a crisis situation stresses everybody out, and then this way, we are bringing the tools to the family.”
The county has also launched a peer-to-peer phone line to allow people with mental health problems to talk to others who have gone through a similar situation.
The new teams started their work this month, and have been dispatched more than 50 times. In most of the cases, the person in crisis avoided hospitalization.
Delaware County Crisis Connections Team: 855-889-7827
Peer-to-Peer line: 855 464-9342