No matter the time of day, no matter where you are, Peace River Center’s mobile crisis team is available to help. The Crisis Response Team (CRT) members offer immediate crisis intervention by phone, mobile response, or walk-in at the Bartow and Lakeland Crisis Stabilization Units. The CRT also provides consultation for individuals’ family or key people such as school personnel, linkage to emergency services if needed, plus they can evaluate and arrange for inpatient crisis stabilization as necessary, and refer to follow-up behavioral health services.

The CRT, which began in 2002, covers Polk and Hardee counties. Director of Crisis Services Kirk Fasshauer, LCSW, FT said the team handles information referral calls to more serious calls such as someone who is suicidal. For those higher risk calls, the CRT counselor keeps the person on the line while another team member works to get law enforcement on the scene. The CRT member also checks Peace River Center’s internal records to see if the individual is a current or previous client, which provides more insight into the caller’s mental health history.

The team members talk through issues, identifying what the presenting problem is, coping skills previously used, and what about the current situation is different. The caller may be overwhelmed with something new or experiencing other symptoms such as high anxiety or depression. “We don’t wait for the crisis to come to us, we can go to the person in distress,” said Kirk. Last year the team received 4,650 calls, completed 387 mobile responses, and handled 353 walk-ins. “In a crisis, emotions run the show and sometimes bad choices are made. This team guides callers from an emotional state to a logical state,” he said. The CRT counselor helps individuals step back and look at things objectively, which often results in identifying their own solutions. The next step is to devise a crisis plan, which may include connecting the caller to additional Peace River Center services or scheduling a follow-up call.

Help Peace River Center connect even more people to the resources they need by sharing information about our 24-Hour Crisis Response Team. The number is (863) 519-3744 or toll-free (800) 627-5906.