The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson met with Carver/Scott Mental Health Crisis Program staff, clients and community partners earlier this month to discuss the state’s effort to increase funding for these crucial crisis response services across Minnesota.
Currently, mobile crisis response teams serve children in 59 Minnesota counties and adults in 49 counties. Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget includes $2 million in the next two-year budget cycle to provide start-up funding for four new teams serving 16 additional counties and two tribes.
“Crisis response teams reach people where they are when they are most in need of help coping with thoughts of suicide, anxiety and depression,” said Jesson, who led a roundtable discussion Friday, March 1, at the Carver County Government Center in Chaska. “Nationwide, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and third leading cause for young adults ages 10-24. We need to ensure we have the capacity to respond to mental health crises as they arise.”
The Carver/Scott Mental Health Crisis Program provides around-the-clock crisis intervention and mobile response by on-duty therapists through its 24/7 crisis line (952-442-7601). In 2012, it responded to nearly 9,000 calls and made approximately 2,500 face-to-face contacts with adults and children.
Melanie Warm, crisis program supervisor, said the service has successfully diverted 64 percent of adult callers and 78 percent of children at risk of hospitalization from needing that high level of care. In her 18 years, she said she was aware of only one suicide occurring within 24 hours after contact with the crisis line.
“For me, it was a lifesaver,” said client Lisa Gjerde, who added that it is important for people who might fear calling to know that the goal of the service is to keep people out of the hospital when possible. In addition to saving lives through new crisis teams, the governor’s budget proposal aims to reduce rates of unnecessary hospitalization and involvement of law enforcement.
Roundtable participants shared their tips with Jesson, including the importance of close collaboration with law enforcement and other first responders, case workers and community providers. Jesson also heard about the vital role health care navigators play as part of the Carver/Scott team. These workers follow-up with clients once they are stabilized to help navigate through health insurance issues and make sure they are keeping appointments.
More information about human services budget proposals can be found on the DHS website.