Riverbend Community Mental Health Mobile Crisis Services

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Published on April 10, 2017

Riverbend Community Mental Health Mobile Crisis Services

Behavioral health specialists from Riverbend Community Mental Health are helping adults experiencing behavioral or psychiatric emergencies and easing the strain on Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department.

A psychiatric crisis can be difficult for individuals, families, first responders and healthcare providers. Before the Mobile Crisis Services program began in 2015, there was no option except taking the person in crisis to Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department — a much more expensive option that often added to the crisis.

Under a state contract, Riverbend now provides community-based, around-the-clock help for those suffering mental health emergencies, either by phone, by personally responding to someone’s home or providing temporary housing in crisis apartments.

The team has been diverting increasing numbers of patients each month
from Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department Behavioral Health Yellow Pod, cutting wait times for other psychiatric patients and allowing the Hospital to focus on patients with the most serious needs.

The Yellow Pod is a secure area with no windows — a safe, sterile environment that often can trigger more problems, especially for someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients who are actively suicidal, with a plan and lethal way of carrying out the plan, should be evaluated in that type of confined area. However many people experiencing a crisis that could be managed at home go to the Emergency Department because that’s the only option they know of. Those are the patients who can be helped by the Mobile Crisis Services program.

The mobile team is having an impact. In its first year of operation, the crisis apartments experienced 141 admissions/492 bed days. Notably, 71 of the admissions were referred from Concord Hospital, demonstrating an increased awareness by Hospital-based clinicians and physicians that the crisis apartments are a viable alternative to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. In all, hundreds of patients in crisis were diverted from Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Debbie Sousa


Debbie Sousa is the perfect example of why Riverbend established the Mobile Crisis Services program.

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