WSB-TV Channel 2: Local Emergency Teams Assist Individuals with Mental Health Challenges

The pandemic has led to an increase in mental health crises, and a new response team in Atlanta is helping people cope. The team includes Stacey Fitzgerald, a certified clinical social worker, and Mike Dean, a certified piercing specialist, who are on-call overnight to assist individuals dealing with mental health issues.

The team responds to calls routed through the Georgia Crisis Access Line (988) and works together to address a range of mental health concerns. For example, they recently responded to a call posted by the Cobb County Police Department in which someone was about to jump off a cliff.

Dean, who has survived three suicide attempts himself, emphasized that people in crisis simply want to be heard and seen. He believes that mobile crisis response teams are crucial to addressing the growing need for mental health support.

George Harris, the benchmark state crisis director, stressed the importance of regional partnerships in responding to mental health crises. He plans to conduct nearly 7,000 face-to-face assessments within the community this year. Fitzgerald called the current mental health epidemic “a call to arms.”

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