“Crisis Now: What Makes Arizona Different” Video Highlights Arizona’s Revolutionary Mental Health Crisis Services

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CrisisNow–“We live in an age of fear of mental health crises, when moviegoers may
feel compelled to scan the audience before taking a seat and a Senator
files a wrongful death suit
against his state to ensure that his
personal tragedy is not repeated,” said RI
CEO and President David Covington. “The fact is, as
the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services
states, only 3-5% of violent
acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental
illness (SMI), and those with an SMI are 10 times more likely to be
victims of violent crimes than the general population. What people don’t
know is that all too often those seeking help for a mental health crisis
suffer for hours and even days awaiting treatment in hospital emergency
rooms, as was the case for Senator Creigh Deed’s son. We created this
video because we want the people of Arizona to know that this state has
specifically trained and accessible behavioral health providers who
immediately respond to those in crisis, and we’re working hard (and in
concert) to ensure these services to all Arizonans,” added Covington.

Covington said the idea for the video sprang from his work as a co-lead
for the Crisis
initiative in partnership with the National Action Alliance for
Suicide Prevention, and added that the video showcases multiple
nonprofit behavioral health providers in Arizona who have no formal
business affiliations. “In the for-profit world we would be considered
competitors, but when you’re in the ‘business’ of saving lives, that
sort of thinking goes out the window,” said Covington. “These providers
share an extremely important, life-saving and society-improving purpose,
and we wanted to shine a light on the innovations in crisis services
occurring right now in facilities across Arizona.”

Unprecedented Community Partnerships

Dr. Margie Balfour, a nationally recognized expert in crisis services,
is with ConnectionsAZ, a physician-owned organization providing
facility-based crisis services in metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson. She
is the Chief Clinical Officer at the Crisis Response Center (CRC) in
Tucson, which is featured in the video. “Emergency rooms and jails are
not equipped to care for people with behavioral health needs, who can
languish there for hours or even days without treatment. People need to
get to a safe and secure environment where they can quickly get in front
of behavioral health professionals who can provide them with the help
they need.” Located within the Banner University Medical Center South
Campus, the CRC was built with Pima County bond funds in order to create
an alternative to jails and hospital emergency rooms and provides
emergency psychiatric care to 12,000 adults and 2,400 children annually.
“We work with mobile crisis services, EMTs, and law enforcement, and
together we’re able to serve thousands of individuals brought directly
to our crisis centers so that they get the help they need immediately.
With rapid assessment and stabilization, over 60% of patients who would
otherwise board in an ER or jail to are able to instead transition to
less-restrictive and less-costly community-based care.”

Bridges Inc. (CBI),
headquartered in Mesa, delivers services in 15
cities throughout Arizona, including many rural areas. Its President and
CEO, Dr. Frank Scarpati, said he wholeheartedly agrees with Dr. Balfour,
and adds that 12 key law enforcement leaders serve on CBI’s Board of
Directors. “Each year, our five facility-based Crisis Stabilization
Units accept 40,000-50,000 entries, while our CBI Crisis Response Teams
divert more than 4,000 individuals out of hospital emergency rooms,
1,400 are diverted by police and 1,500 by fire departments directly to
CBI facilities, saving our communities millions of dollars in ER costs
and creating additional capacity in our hospitals by freeing up bed
space and decreasing wait times.”

Mobile Crisis Teams Travel to Those in Need (Avoids Hospital ER)

Also featured in the video is La
Frontera EMPACT’s
program located in Tempe, Arizona. Founded in
1987, Emergency Mobile Pediatric & Adolescent Crisis Teams – Suicide
Prevention Center (EMPACT-SPC), provides suicide prevention, crisis
intervention, counseling, substance abuse, trauma healing, and
prevention programming to individuals and families in Maricopa and Pinal
Counties. Its crisis teams are dispatched and respond immediately to an
individual when and wherever the individual is located at the time of
the crisis, whether that be the street, jail, social service agency, or
an apartment or home.

Crisis Call Centers Conduct the Orchestra

The services of the Crisis
Response Network (CRN)
in Tempe, which support Central and Northern
Arizona, and Centene’s
Nursewise Call Center in Tucson
are also highlighted in the video.
Both organizations provide clinical professionals using high-tech tools
to coordinate care, track data and provide evidence of measured
outcomes. CRN provides crisis contact center services 24/7/365, a
24-hour peer-operated warm line, Serious Mental Illness (SMI)
determinations, telephonic follow up, tragedy support, specialized
crisis lines, and dispatch services for mobile crisis teams, crisis
transportation, Department of Child Services (DCS) rapid response and
stabilization services. NurseWise’s Behavioral Health Professionals,
Behavioral Health Technicians and Registered Nurses assist consumers
with acute behavioral health and physical health symptoms, 24/7,
including scheduling intake appointments and dispatching mobile crisis
teams to provide in-home or in-office assessment and support.

Peer Supports and Trauma Informed Care

RI International, headquartered in Phoenix, is a global organization
offering crisis, health, recovery and consulting services through 50+
programs located throughout the U.S. and abroad. Covington said RI’s
Crisis Services have been rapidly expanding, adding four additional
crisis facilities this year to its array of Recovery Response Centers
(for crisis stabilization), Evaluation and Treatment Centers (for
involuntary and court-ordered treatment) and Crisis Respites (voluntary
longer-term treatment). RI is well-known for its “living
room model
” of care, which focuses on providing peer support,
meaning staff with lived experience work alongside clinicians. “We work
to make our facilities feel more like a comfortable living room or
resort, rather than an institution. Our staff is not separated from
guests by Plexiglas. We do this to help lessen stigma and provide
healing spaces, welcoming environments conducive to de-escalation,” said
Covington. “Last year in our Arizona crisis stabilization programs we
diverted more than 3,000 individuations with a mental health crisis away
from costly hospital visits, never refusing a law-enforcement drop-off.”

Covington said the Crisis Now: What Makes Arizona Different video was
produced by David
Shapiro Enterprises
, and will officially premiere at the American
Association of Suicidology
(AAS) 50th annual conference
next spring in Phoenix, but will be shared publicly via social media in
early 2017. He also thanked Rabideau Consulting for their national
leadership and role in initially bringing the stakeholders together
leading to the video.


RI International
Carole Pfeil, 602-636-4502
Communications and Marketing Officer