Communities across the nation are participating in an unprecedented effort to transform mental health emergency response. Two years ago, the FCC adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, easy-to-remember 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.
The 988 mental health lifeline will be rolling out across the United States by July 2022. All states are engaged with their individual efforts be it in form of changes or updates in their existing systems in preparation for this. However, questions remain on how to put into place the most effective approaches and systems to integrate with this nationwide initiative. This session provides clarifications on how the system is expected to work, the developments on this initiative, and best practices to ensure its success.
This session’s speakers are B.J. Wagner and John Snook. John Snook is the Senior Vice President of National Policy Innovation for the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. Meanwhile, BJ is the Senior Vice President of Health and Public Safety at the Meadows Institute.
Specifics of their discussion include:
- The expected rollout of 988 and the plans surrounding its launch, notification, and awareness efforts.
- The reason behind the creation of the 988 lifeline based on the issues, costs, and tragic outcomes for community members due to the lack of resources and manpower to respond to mental health crises effectively.
- Efforts underway to address the primary issues surrounding lack of resources and law enforcement involvement within existing mental health emergency systems.
- The pillars of an ideal crisis response system as it looks into considerations when it comes to having well-trained and experienced call-takers, sufficient responders, and the capacity for facilities to accommodate mental health emergency cases.
- The foremost goal of prevention of the 988 initiative as it ties into the sequential intercept model.
- Developments related to the 988 system and funding sources made available at the federal and state level to bolster infrastructure, staffing, and services needed to successfully implement it.
- Law enforcement’s critical role in 988 to ensure effective planning and implementation.
- The ongoing debate on law enforcement’s level of involvement in mental health emergency response which tends to result in an either-or approach that ultimately puts community members at risk.
- The Multi-Disciplinary Response Team (MDRT) approach that integrates law enforcement and civilian elements that can provide the appropriate response to a range of types and severity of calls for service.
- The MDRT objectives that aim to provide dignified care to people in a mental health emergency and delineate the duties of medical, behavioral health, and law enforcement professionals so they may focus on their expertise.
- The MDRT model’s edge to other co-responder programs in terms of ability to respond to all types of mental health calls, providing more and better outcome options, and reducing tragic outcomes.
- The composition of the MDRT, each team member’s responsibilities, and mission-critical components of this model.
- A glimpse into the Dallas, Texas MDRT model and how it was able to accept positive outcomes by looking at data on emergency detentions, arrests, and citations.
Questions raised by the webinar’s attendees were about:
- Finding out which organizations are leading the efforts on 988 within each state.
- The required number of multi-disciplinary response teams on the field.
- Involvement of agencies in tribal and rural areas in the 988 efforts.
- 988 fees through mobile carriers.
- Coordinating 988 with 911, law enforcement, and CRTs.
- Accessibility options and support within 988 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Other Webinars with this Presenter:
- 988 and the Future of Crisis Response: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know (Part 1)
- Feb 10: 988 and the Future of Crisis Response: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know (Part 2) (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- Report Link: Multi-Disciplinary Response Teams: Transforming Emergency Mental Health Response in Texas
- Report Link: Behavioral Health Emergency Alternative Response: A Statewide Texas Update
- Handout Link: SAMHSA National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care Best Practice Toolkit
- Website Referenced: NAMI 988 State Bill Tracking
- Article Referenced: Research in Brief: “911, Do You Need Police, Fire, EMS or Mental Health Services?”
- “The most valuable thing I learned is that 988 exists. The second most valuable piece of information is that I can get on bit.lyNAMIcrisisdashboard to see how my state is coming along-which I greatly appreciate. Thanks for having and hosting this webinar.” — Denise
- “Great workshop in its entirety. Glad to see a well-thought-out plan for mental health-related responses, Having a universal number for mental health calls will aid in these types of calls being made to the 911 Centers when the caller is non-violent but needs intervention.” — Diane
- “I absolutely enjoyed the discussion regarding the implementation of the teams in Texas. We have teams that have begun in my agency and they are still building them, so hearing what they do and how they do it, was very important for me.” — Kehau
- “There was a lot of good information provided. I like the link you provided to check on the status in the state where I reside. Also provided insight into what a good responding team should look like. We have a Mobile Crisis Team that is 24/7, however, the development and use of MC and LE as a team is not quite there yet. Some LE agencies in the county are further along than others.” — Catherine
- “All of it was valuable! Very interesting.” — Lori