5 Ways To Respond To Mental Health Crises Without Police

ambulance in timelapse photography
Zain Murdock
February 9, 2024

#1 - Mobile Crisis Teams 

Mobile crisis teams (MCTs) are mental health professionals, medics, paraprofessionals, and peers. These units stabilize individuals during mental health or substance use crises wherever they are and can help them get behavioral healthcare afterward. 

#2 - EMS-Based Responses 

Like MCTs, EMS responses also reduce arrests by using EMTs, physicians, counselors, and more to respond instead of police. They then transport patients to the most appropriate treatment, not to emergency rooms.

#3 - 911 Diversion

When you dial 911, your call gets rerouted to a behavioral health specialist. They can manage the situation over the phone and offer referrals.

 #4 - Crisis & Warm Lines

Trained call-takers answer crisis lines with remote counseling. They intervene, assess risk, and provide more resources if needed. 

Unlike suicide “hot” lines, “warm”  non-emergency lines are answered by trained peers who’ve experienced mental illness themselves.

 #5 - Peer Navigators

Like people running the warm lines, peer navigators have lived experiences qualifying them to support others earlier in their recovery journey. This work reduces emergency room visits and police calls.

Mental health crises are not one-size-fits-all. But these are ways we can address them as we build a future that will grow even more. This is part of our foundation for well-resourced options without police.

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