Launch: Sept. 2007
Goal of Program
To maximize scarce resources and integrate suicide prevention into private and public health plans, the Psychiatric Emergency Response Network is designed to help improve rescue outcomes from calls made to 1-800-442-HOPE, and the other hotlines of the National Hopeline Network as well as those who chat via IMALIVE.org. We have built a database of all the mobile response teams in the US so that the mental health professionals in the local community are the first responders instead of the police. This hopefully is improving the callers' willingness to accept help and with that greater compliance with treatment. It is not for the public but for our trained volunteers and the crisis centers which will work with our National Hopeline Network to better integrate with the system of first responders to get the mental health mobile response teams into the loop of rescue.
H.E.A.R.T. is one of only two training programs that provide suicide risk assessment tool available via the internet. It was developed by leading experts in the fields of suicidology, telephony and web based applications. It is used to screen all callers and chatters before they are then routed to community resources. When rescue needs to be sent the PERN can be used to locate the mobile response teams that are contracted with or employed by local community mental health services.
The PERN will be used by the National Hopeline Network which receives over 50,000 calls and chats per year from individuals in crisis. According to an evaluation of the Hopeline Network by SAMHSA, 60% of all callers to 1-800-SUICIDE are suicidal or in a psychiatric state when call. Additionally, PERN will allow for the standardization of data necessary to assess suicide crisis intervention services and develop future strategies and policies.
How it is used
The PERN is used in conjunction with the police and other first responders. The emergency response team may include the mental health professionals, paramedics or EMT's, police and even fire rescue personnel. Once suicide risk has been determined to escalate to a rescue by the call taker and supervisors the PERN will be activated with a call to 866-FOR-PERN. Immediately, the database of all the emergency teams will be accessed and the two primary components - mental health and police - will be contacted and a conference call between the two teams will begin. The history of the call will be pushed to the two teams via Google Chat or other web based messaging system.
The PERN has been functional since 2007 and to date each time the process has been positive. In the last several years KBHC has conducted talks with state program directors to find ways to leverage the existing resources to improve the outcomes regarding crisis calls to 1-800-442-HOPE. Each director has expressed that being a part of the rescue is their responsibility.
Contact Info: Reese Butler, Kristin Brooks Hope Center.
Address: 1250 24th Street NW
Washington, DC 20037.