By providing support and care to community members in times of crisis, MCR's work directly aligns with our county's Community Health Improvement Plan (CHP) priority to establish community conditions that support physical and mental-well being.
The Mobile Crisis Response (MCR) team responds to the scene of various emergencies in the greater Florence community including Mapleton, Swisshome, and Deadwood.
MCR is a three-year Rural Pilot Mobile Crisis Program funded by Lane County to put together a mobile crisis model that will work in rural areas. The Team's goal is to offer appropriate and human support, interventions, and guidance to community members facing unexpected traumatic situations and/or mental health crises.
The team has two people on call 24/7 to provide emotional support, assessment, community resources and follow up to help our community members navigate their way through hard times.
The calls they respond to range from those that are suicidal to having any type of mental health crisis such as:
How did this project get started?
“Two and a half years ago, Lane County put out a request for proposals to provide mobile crisis services to rural parts of our county. At the time, we were already on call 24/7, working with families who experienced home fires or medical emergencies (CPR) with the fire department and EMS. As the coordinator of the fire department’s Community Support Team, and together with Peace Harbor hospital administration, Florence Police Department, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Siuslaw Outreach Services, and Options Counseling, we met for a series of meetings to discuss what this program could look like and to put together a proposal. Since the Community Support Team was in the unique position of already having a team that provided 24/7 response to structure fires and CPRS, it made sense that we administer the contract for mobile crisis response.”
How did you get involved and why is this work important to you?
“I’m a clinical social worker, I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I retired from California from the UC Davis Medical Center, a big trauma center in Sacramento. I had worked in the emergency department there for 26 years working with families experiencing trauma as well as doing psychiatric evaluations, and so this is the same work I did my entire career, but now it is in a community setting. When I retired to Florence in 2016, I was invited to head up the fire department’s Community Support Team. With my background I absolutely jumped on it. It’s been my life’s work.”
What do you think your community’s greatest strengths are?
“Definitely the cooperation between agencies. We couldn’t do this program without that. Options Counseling, Siuslaw Outreach Services, Peace Harbor hospital, Florence Police Department, Oregon State Police, Lane County Sheriff Office; we have a great relationship with all of them. Our greatest strength in this small community is that everyone works really well together. The MCR Committee meets monthly with representatives from all of those different agencies, and when there’s a gap in services identified, the agencies help formulate a plan for how to meet those needs the best we can.
For example, once we intervened in the field, there was no one to do follow up after that. Sometimes people weren’t capable of making those connections, getting signed up for services, filling out applications, or getting transportation to get to appointments. So, we’ve added two full time employees to our original MCR program to address this. We now have a Follow-Up Coordinator who will follow up and help individuals complete applications for services, provide transport if necessary, make sure that they get hooked up with the services that are recommended for them in the mobile contact. Most recently, we’ve added a full-time Outreach Coordinator. She works with the emergency department and law enforcement to identify the 10 highest over utilizers of emergency services; people who frequently call for an ambulance or go to the emergency department or call police because of mental health or behavioral issues. Our Outreach Coordinator works intensely with those 10 highest utilizers, doing home visits up to three times a week, being available to them by cell phone, trying to set them up with services and whatever’s needed to help stabilize their lives a little bit.”
How do you see your area of work and/or your community growing in the future?
“We actually have two plans for growth at this point. We’re in the process right now of looking for funding for a safe transport vehicle so that we can safely transport clients over to Eugene to utilize services that are in Lane County but are currently inaccessible to our clients because of the distance. Therefore, if people are requesting a voluntary psych evaluation or want to go to White Bird or some crisis center like that, we will transport them over to Eugene to utilize those services.
Our second plan for growth is to develop a 23-hour crisis respite program. Legislation recently passed in Oregon to fund four 23-hour crisis respite programs, and one of those programs was designated to be on the coast. So, we’re developing a plan right now to submit a proposal as soon as that funding is available. If we could have a 23-hour crisis respite program here in town that would be ideal. We have a lot of people that we see, and maybe spend two to three hours with on a call but it’s not enough to stabilize them, and yet they don’t meet criteria for a police officer’s hold. Those people fall between the cracks, you can’t stabilize them in a couple hours and you can’t take them into an inpatient facility, so the 23-hour respite would help address the needs of those people. “
What is bringing you joy at the moment?
“Watching this program grow has brought me a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction. We started out with three people, and we now have a team of 10. They’re trained in everything from suicide prevention and intervention, to death notifications, to de-escalation techniques and trauma-informed care. They’re very good at what they do. They’re very cohesive, they work so well together, and just watching this little program grow from what it was two and a half years ago is pretty phenomenal, so that brings me a lot of joy.”
For more information about the Mobile Crisis Response, visit their website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org