Franklin James Cook

Crisis Center Streamlines Access, Gets Innovation Award

In Hotlines, Intervention on November 13, 2008 at 12:31 am

ORIGINAL ARTICLE — The Georgia Crisis and Access Line in Atlanta is the recipient of a 2008 Innovation Award from the Council of State Governments. The article about the award, in the current issue of the Council’s magazine, offers a poignant snapshot of a crisis center worker helping a caller in distress.

[Jana Pruett, the crisis line worker] could hear the desperation in the woman’s voice … At some point, the woman hung up, and Pruett called right back. The woman had taken all her pills; she had overdosed. Pruett immediately dispatched emergency services to the woman and stayed with her on the phone. “I stayed and tried to keep her as awake as I could,” she said. The paramedics got there just as the woman was beginning to lose consciousness …

Crisis lines across the country answer untold similar emergency calls on a regular basis. Georgia’s crisis center has taken its role a step further by serving as an integrated access system for all of the state’s mental health and alcohol and other drug abuse services.

The Georgia Crisis and Access Line … serves Georgia’s mental health customers and helps a stigmatized audience navigate the complicated world of getting help.

A video overview is available of the Georgia center, which characterizes it as a model for mental health system improvement. In the video, Mandy Mercer of Behavioral Health Link, says

The Georgia Crisis and Access Line is revolutionizing the expectations of people seeking mental health and substance abuse services by providing a single point of contact access experience.

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