Props to DC Mental Health Mobile Response Team

Photo by PoPville flickr user blueiris2006

Dear PoPville,

I just had a great interaction with a city service that’s new to me and possibly helpful to other readers. There’s a mentally ill man who hangs out at my bus stop; he usually just watches the people go by, but has really devolved over the last two months – pacing, shouting at the air and looking disheveled (he’s not homeless). Today was particularly bad, so I called 311 and they connected me to the DC Mental Health Mobile Response Team. A very considerate guy answered right away, took down my information, and called back 45 minutes later to say that they had sent a team out, talked to him, and even talked to his case worker (whom they knew).

I was impressed at how responsive, considerate and on top of things they were, and relieved that the city did more than send police to move him along. He wasn’t violent, but if you come across someone who is, they recommend calling 911 and asking the police to send their mental health team (it has an acronym that I didn’t catch) since they have special training in handling these situations.

8 Comment

  • Thanks for highlighting. This is a critical city service and much more effective than having the police respond to mentally ill individuals on their own.

    I experienced these folks after someone I know became severely mentally ill. Getting someone like that to treatment is extremely difficult because they often don’t believe there is a problem. The cops often can’t take someone in unless they’ve broken the law or pose an obvious threat to themselves or others. That’s very hard to prove. This team often gets people to go with them voluntarily. I can’t imagine how many lives they have touched, how many disasters they have prevented and how many tax dollars they have saved.

  • MPD’s mental health team is called “Crisis Intervention Team” or C.I.T. As the OP said, if the person you’re dealing with is in any way violent or a threat to themselves or others it’s really best to call 911 first.

  • Hi thanks for posting this, these are my colleagues.

    I think you are talking about the Mobile Crisis Team (MCS). The team is part of the Dept of Mental Health’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program which operates 3 mental health programs:

    Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 202-673-9319 (24hrs, 7 days per week)
    Mobile Crisis Services (MCS): 202-673-9300 (9am -1am, 7 days per week)
    Homeless Outreach Program (HOP): 202-673-9124 (9am -8pm , M-F)

    Also you can call 311, 911 or 1(888)7WE-HELP (1-888-793-4357).

  • Thanks for posting. I have often wondered who I would or could call in such a situation.

  • that is great to know! im just curious, in which neighborhood did this occur? i have a similar issue at my bus stop- i know it’s probably not the same one, but stilll…

  • I would like to thank you for all your comments. It is great to know how appreciative everyone finds us. I work for Mobile Crisis and I wondered if people were greatful for all the work we do. It is so refreshing and inspiring to read all of your great comments. All of us at Mobile Crisis are professionals in the Mental Health Field and we are doing our best to help those who are mentally ill. We are available from 9AM TO 12MIDNIGHT. We close at 1AM, but stop taking calls at 12midnight. Again thank you all and thank you Claudia for bringing this to our attention!

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