New help for North Country residents

Published: Nov. 27, 2017 at 5:30 PM EST
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In a crisis, this is who you want on the other end of the line.

"Calling the North Country Crisis Helpline, formerly the Clinton County Suicide Hotline, now being answered locally," said Chris Arnold of Crisis Management Services.

The Mobile Crisis Team has been live since Nov. 6, totaling 26 calls in a mere three weeks. Callers are asked a series of questions by mental health professionals of Behavioral Health Services North. If a situation calls for it, they hop on the road and drive to you to make sure that you are OK.

"That enables us to respond to the location of the individual if they're experiencing a behavioral health crisis, so mental health, substance abuse," Arnold said.

So what defines a crisis? Arnold said it's not an easy thing to define because for everyone it's different.

"So it's not on me to say here's the box and you need to fit in the box. My vision for the team is we are the box trying to fit in different places in the community where we're needed," Arnold said.

If you finding yourself thinking you should call but you're too afraid...

"We're not here to be judgmental, we're not here to put labels on things, we are here to talk with people about what's going on in their lives and then provide the support they feel like could be helpful," Arnold said.

But keep in my mind: "If there's a medical emergency we don't replace 911," Arnold said.

But they hope to keep more people out of the hospital

"We're looking at eliminating unnecessary emergency department visits," said Peter Trout of Behavioral Health Services North.

Last year, there were 1,700 behavioral emergency visits to CVPH. They're hoping the mobile crisis team will reduce that.

"The trend is going up. We're looking at mobilizing this team to bring that down by 25 percent at a minimum," Trout said.

They currently have funding for two years to get the project started. As of now, they can only travel within Clinton County but they hope to team up soon with other counties in the North Country. Anyone in any country is encouraged to call. The number is 1-866-5PREVENT (1-866-577-3836)