As Suicide Rates Climb, Crisis Centers Expand
March 20, 2020
Most people in a mental health- or drug-related crisis, who are picked up by law enforcement for a misdemeanor, are taken straight to a hospital emergency department (ED). They are often confined involuntarily for hours or days. Some are jailed with no access to mental health professionals or medications. But now, using a model developed in Arizona, a number of states are encouraging police to drop people off at crisis centers instead, where they can get the care they need much more quickly. The crisis facilities offer a guaranteed wait of no more than 10 minutes and accept everyone regardless of insurance coverage or condition. They are linked electronically with the suicide hotlines and mobile crisis units, and work collaboratively with first responders. To implement these changes, policymakers have amended laws, state health care agencies have changed regulations, and crisis providers have adapted their services.