Care to Change is working with a variety of groups in Hendricks County, including first responders, the medical community, local government, schools, businesses, and other mental health providers to develop a Crisis Response Team for our community.
What is that exactly? A Crisis Response Team is created to provide mental health support in crisis situations within the community. Those situations could include everything from a suicide, a natural disaster, to a major accident or fire, to violent crimes, to an act of terrorism.
When bad things happen in a community, people like first responders and medical providers spring into action to take care of things that must happen. For example, if there was some sort of mass shooting, the police would immediately intervene to provide protection and attempt to immobilize and arrest the shooter. Fire personnel would immediately treat victims and transport them to hospitals. Those hospitals would call in extra doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to treat wounds and provide lifesaving care.
But what about the mental health needs of the victims, their family members, and the people who witnessed the shooting? That’s where the Crisis Response Team would step in, bringing groups of trained mental health professionals to support people in crisis. That may include helping victims process what happened, counseling people who have lost family members, and helping the community understand the situation. The team would also help coordinate communication between the various elements of the community response.
If police officers responding to a call determined that the subject was facing a mental health crisis, they could call the team in to assess the individual and determine the best course of action. If a local high school student committed suicide or died in an automobile accident, the team would be brought in to help other students and parents cope with the loss and try to develop an understanding of the situation. If there was a domestic violence murder, the team could step in and support family members and neighbors in the hours and days that followed.
The goal of a Crisis Response Team isn’t to handle the long-term mental health needs of those involved, but to deal with immediate issues, identify the longer-term resources individuals may need, and connect them with sources for that help. First responders don’t have the training or expertise to provide this kind of support, so they could call in the team when needed.
In communities where Crisis Response Teams are active, they ensure better treatment for local residents and reduce unnecessary mental-health stays in hospitals, or situations in which law enforcement has to jail individuals for their own protection. The teams are also effective at helping community members access services they did not realize were available.
We’re proud to be part of this important effort. If you’d like to know more about what Hendricks County is doing, or have skills and knowledge that might be beneficial, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.