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Mesa’s new prevention action line is a hotline for behavioral health issues

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Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

By Wynne Mancini


WYNNE MANCINI/CRONKITE NEWS: At the Mesa Dispatch Center, responders’ voices punctuate a quiet room. In a dim corner, a team is tethered to phone lines, their eyes glued to screens, as they coordinate response teams for emergencies across the city.

Travis Andersen is working as a crisis specialist in Mesa’s new pilot program, the “prevention action line.” Ten percent of Mesa’s 911 calls are related to behavioral health, so the city began the line to address this need.

TRAVIS ANDERSON/CRISIS SPECIALIST: The help that one can get could be just talking over the phone, if they need that moral support, if they need to get direction on where to go or if they need people to come out and help.

WYNNE MANCINI/CRONKITE NEWS: Outside, Capt. Paramedic William Lamond hops into a Mesa response vehicle. He partners with a trained behavioral health counselor responding to calls for the line.

WILLIAM LAMOND/MESA FIRE AND MEDICAL: Behavioral calls are definitely a little different than our standard chest pain calls or difficulty breathing.

WYNNE MANCINI/CRONKITE NEWS: The prevention action line seeks to address this difference.

WILLIAM LAMOND/MESA FIRE AND MEDICAL: We’ve had patients that are very cooperative and stable initially with our assessments and they can change very quickly to an alternate mood.

WYNNE MANCINI/CRONKITE NEWS: Lamond encourages early action by family members.

WILLIAM LAMOND/MESA FIRE AND MEDICAL: If they see a change or are concerned about a change, whether it be mood or behavior on a friend of family member, someone that they care about, not to hesitate to call.

WYNNE MANCINI/CRONKITE NEWS: Mesa fire and medical plans to expand behavioral health response services.