MCIU Director Leads Coordinated Effort to Rescue Woman in Crisis

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On May 16th, a remarkable act of compassion and teamwork unfolded in New Orleans. Tyesha Davis-Rhodes, RHD’s Director of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit (MCIU), led a life-saving intervention that showcased the impact of coordinated crisis response. The MCIU is the fourth branch of the emergency response system in New Orleans, LA, effectively addressing behavioral health crises with care and innovation.

The incident began when a family member called 911 about a 21-year-old woman at risk of suicide. Responding to the call, Tyesha understood the urgency when she learned the woman had left upon hearing help was coming. Through coordinated efforts with community partners and the 911 system, the team located the woman at a nearby lake. Tyesha engaged with her from a distance, balancing empathy and persuasion to avoid escalating the situation. Her focus and dedication were crucial. Tyesha concentrated on the woman’s body language and verbal cues, making sure to avoid causing additional distress. “My thought process was, ‘I have to help her,’” Tyesha shared.

Throughout the intervention, Tyesha received support from her colleague, Bria Morlier, who managed other communications and needs, allowing her to stay fully engaged with the woman. The New Orleans Police Department Crisis Intervention Team, coordinated by Sergeant Keira Isaac, provided essential backup. “They realized early that police engagement might not be a safe strategy for her. They stayed back, providing support if needed but not engaging directly,” Tyesha shared.

After hours of delicate negotiation, Tyesha convinced the woman to accompany the MCIU staff to a psychiatric hospital. The woman is now stable and receiving mental health care. The dedication of Tyesha and her team, supported by their community and police partners, illustrates the profound difference that compassionate, coordinated crisis intervention can make. Tyesha’s colleagues expressed their gratitude with flowers and words of appreciation, recognizing the emotional toll and immense value of her work.

June 1, 2024, marks the first anniversary of the MCIU, which intercepted an impressive 3000 calls in their first year. “We have made a significant impact, but we haven’t even scratched the surface. We have so much more work ahead of us to address the community’s mental health needs,” Tyesha said. Her work on May 16 stands as a shining example of how the New Orleans emergency response system works tirelessly to serve and protect its community, demonstrating the strength and necessity of collaborative efforts in crisis intervention. To support and learn more about MCIU, visit


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