Transformational Approach to Behavioral Health

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In recent years, communities across the nation have been grappling with the challenge of responding effectively to behavioral health crises. Law enforcement and other emergency responders often find themselves unable to provide the best care for individuals experiencing mental health issues. 

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, however, a groundbreaking transformational approach to mental health is changing the game. By establishing a comprehensive behavioral health continuum, the county is not only addressing this critical issue holistically but also setting a shining example for others to follow.

The Challenge of Emergency Behavioral Health Crises

Emergency Crisis Services have skyrocketed in our society. Yet, the responders who are first on the scene, such as law enforcement and 911 personnel, frequently do not have the specialized training needed to handle these sensitive situations. The result is a gap in the quality of care for people experiencing mental health challenges during these emergencies.

Prince George’s County Leading the Way

Recognizing the need for a transformative solution, Prince George’s County has taken the lead in redefining how mental health crises are handled within its community. The county’s approach focuses on providing accessible, appropriate, and compassionate care through every step of the crisis process.

The Crisis Continuum of Care

Prince George’s County’s transformational approach to mental health crisis revolves around a well-structured crisis continuum of care. This continuum is designed to guide residents through the process of receiving the right care at the right time:

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Step 1: Call 988, the National Suicide & Prevention Lifeline

The first step emphasizes prevention and support. By encouraging individuals to reach out to the National Suicide & Prevention Lifeline at 988, Prince George’s County ensures that those in need have immediate access to trained professionals who can provide essential guidance and support.

Step 2: The Mobile Response Team

Understanding the importance of in-person intervention, the county has established six Mobile Response Teams. These teams are comprised of mental health clinicians who respond to crisis situations in-person as needed. By calling (301) 429-2185, residents can request the presence of a mental health professional who can assess the situation and provide necessary interventions.

Step 3: The Dyer Care Center

Recognizing the need for a dedicated crisis facility, Prince George’s County is projected to  open the Dyer Care Center in the late fall of 2023. This facility specializes in emergency crisis stabilization for individuals facing mental health, behavioral health, and/or substance use concerns. The center aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for those in crisis, ensuring they receive the appropriate level of care and attention.

Step 4: Mindoula

To provide continuous support beyond the immediate crisis, TLC-MD has partnered with Mindoula. This organization offers round-the-clock virtual support and assistance to eligible individuals dealing with chronic mental health issues, some physical health challenges, and social well-being concerns. Eligible patients must bereferred to Mindoula from participating hospitals, ensuring a seamless transition from crisis care to ongoing support.

Harnessing the Power of Information: TLC-MD’s Crisis Continuum Videos

Prince George’s County is also harnessing the power of information distribution to ensure its community is well-informed about these critical services. The TLC-MD Crisis Continuum Videos, available on YouTube, provide an insightful look into the county’s approach to mental health crisis intervention. Check them out below.

A Model for Revolutionizing Mental Health 

Prince George’s County’s transformational approach to mental health crisis intervention follows the Crisis Now best practices and hopes to be  a model for other communities to follow. By creating a comprehensive crisis continuum of care, the county is ensuring that residents in need receive timely, appropriate, and compassionate support. 

This approach not only enhances the well-being of individuals in crisis but also relieves the burden on law enforcement and emergency responders, allowing them to focus on their core duties. As communities deal with the increasing demand for mental health services, Prince George’s County will serve as a beacon of innovation and compassion in the realm of mental health support.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, immediate help is available. Call the Mobile Response Team (MRT) at (301) 429-2185 or call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat 988lifeline.org