Podcast: The Importance of Mental Health Workers for Mobile Crisis Response


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As the United States increasingly focuses on mental health, an important topic is how society responds to people facing mental health crises.

A typical crisis response involves a 911 dispatcher sending a police officer to respond and provide support. However, the vast majority of police officers have little or no training on how to best respond to people with mental health crises. In addition, people with serious mental disorders are at high risk of being injured in clashes with the police.

About 30 years ago in Eugene, Oregon, a small group created an alternative program for people in crisis by sending mental health workers and trained paramedics to people in mental health crisis instead of the police. . The program is called CAHOOTS (Help in case of crisis helping in the street) and it has become a model for similar efforts across the country.

The organization, led by White Birds Clinic, is the subject of a Lead to health item in the June 2021 issue of Health affairs. Today’s day A Health Podyssey, CAHOOTS co-founder David Zeiss joins Health affairs Editor-in-chief Alan Weil to discuss divert people in mental health crisis from police intervention to a system designed around mental health needs.

Order your copy of the July 2021 issue of Health affairs.

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