RHD’s New Orleans Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit is Available Now!

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In the vibrant city of New Orleans, a groundbreaking initiative is reshaping the way RHD responds to behavioral health crises. On June 1, 2023, the New Orleans Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit (NOMCIU) launched, revolutionizing emergency care by connecting individuals in distress with a specialized crisis team through a simple call to 911. This transformative program prioritizes mental well-being and community care.

The NOMCIU genesis began in 2021 when the city’s health department sought innovative proposals to enhance emergency response. RHD’s proposal received the nod, thanks in part to our experience in the city with emergency response to mental health and substance use crises since 2010, via the Metropolitan Crisis Response Team. A collaboration between RHD, the city of New Orleans, and its health department, the MCIU is unique because of how it acts as the fourth branch of the emergency response system, which allows a more effective response to behavioral health crises called into 911.

How does it work? The MCIU pairs crisis workers with licensed clinical staff, working in teams of two. 911 transfers all calls that the Unit is best equipped to handle. Through groundbreaking approaches, they provide on-site or virtual assistance, tailored to the unique requirements of each situation. Claire Ryder, RHD’s Director of Business Development, has had the pleasure of supporting the Program Director, Tyesha David, Regional Director, Jan Tarantino, and others during the MCIU’s implementation phase. The primary benefit of the MCIU, Claire shares, is “that people are getting the appropriate responder with the appropriate level of training for the type of crisis that they’re experiencing.”

RHD has developed various additions for the MCIU. One notable achievement is their distinct marketing campaign, utilizing billboards and TV commercials to raise awareness and reach a wider audience. Furthermore, the staff members are provided with additional support to maintain their well-being amidst the demanding nature of their work, such as access to amenities like massage chairs in the office or tickets to the aquarium. These features promote a culture of wellness, enabling the team to effectively navigate their challenging workdays.

The NOMCIU’s impact extends far beyond immediate crisis resolution. By redirecting cases from emergency rooms, EMS, and law enforcement, this program will minimize involuntary hospitalizations and arrests related to mental health. This will create a safer, healthier, and more compassionate New Orleans, benefitting everyone in the community.

To learn more, visit www.rhd.org/nomciu/.