In light of the need for increased awareness of mental health resources, the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) rolled out their version of the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline support system in the summer of 2022. For people experiencing a mental health crisis, including suicidal ideation or an emergency related to substance use, the lifeline is a quick way to connect to highly trained individuals who carry out assessments and interventions over the phone and at times in person, 24/7.
“The vast majority of crises are resolved through that process, but they are also the people who will dispatch the community mobile crisis response team,” said DBHIDS Commissioner Dr. Jill Bowen. “It’s the one number to come in, to have the assessment, to have an intervention and if necessary, to have dispatched the community mobile crisis response team.”
The community mobile crisis response team comes to the person in crisis, engages the people in the person’s support system, and works to alleviate the problem “with as little coercion as possible,” Bowen said. Coercion could translate to police presence or involuntary commitment.