Launch: Sept. 2007
Goal of Program
To maximize scarce resources and integrate suicide prevention into private and public health plans, the Psychiatric Emergency Response Network is designed to help improve rescue outcomes from calls made to 1-800-SUICIDE, 911, 211 and anyone who needs to send "rescue" to a caller in crisis. Our plan is to network all the mobile response teams in the US so that the mental health professionals in the local community are the first responders instead of the police. This should improve the callers' willingness to accept help and with that greater compliance with treatment. It is not for the public but for the crisis centers which will work with our CRIES application (see CRIES One Sheet for details), Comcare's database EPAD, and any other system of first responders to get the mental health mobile response teams into the loop of rescue.
CRIES is the only suicide risk assessment tool available via the world wide web, as well as the only program compatible with 911 to share data between crisis centers and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPS). It was developed by leading experts in the fields of suicidology, telephony and web based applications. It will be used to screen all callers before they are then routed to community resources. When rescue is sent the PERN can be used to locate the mobile response teams that are contracted with or employed by local community mental health services.
The PERN will be used by the National Hopeline Network which receives over 500,000 calls per year from individuals in crisis. According to a recent evaluation of the Hopeline Network by SAMHSA, 60% of all callers to 1-800-SUICIDE are suicidal or in a psychiatric state when call. Additionally, PERN will allow for the standardization of data necessary to assess suicide crisis intervention services and develop future strategies and policies.
How it is used
The PERN will be used in conjunction with the police and other first responders. The emergency response team may include the mental health professionals, paramedics or EMT's, police and even fire rescue personnel. Once suicide risk has been determined to escalate to a rescue by the call taker and supervisors the PERN will be activated with a call to 866-FOR-PERN. Immediately, the database of all the emergency teams will be accessed and the two primary components - mental health and police - will be contacted and a conference call between the two teams will begin. The history of the call will be pushed to the two teams via the CRIES or other web based messaging system.
While it has not yet officially launched we have done several test rescues in a number of states to circumvent the normal police response. Each time the process has been positive. In the last several years KBHC has conducted talks with state program directors to find ways to leverage the existing resources to improve the outcomes regarding crisis calls to 1-800-SUICIDE. Each director has expressed that being a part of the rescue is their responsibility.
Contact Info: Reese Butler, Kristin Brooks Hope Center.
Address: 1250 24th Street NW
Washington, DC 20037.