Local Response Team is helping people deal with mental health issues – WSB-TV Channel 2

ATLANTA – We’ve seen an increase in mental health crises since the pandemic.

On Friday Channel 2 Laurie Wilson Learn how a new response team is helping people cope.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Stacey Fitzgerald and Certified Peer Specialist Mike Dean are part of a mobile crisis team waiting overnight to help someone with mental health issues.

“People go through ups and downs in life and we’re here for the downs,” Fitzgerald said. “They were literally fighting with their spouse and they didn’t know who to call so they called 988 to find us.”

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The Georgia Crisis and Access Line or 988 routes calls through a network of mobile crisis teams.

It was one of Stacey and Mike’s co-workers who responded to a Cobb County police call about a desperate man who wanted to jump off the top of a parking garage.

As a peer specialist, Dean says people want to be heard in times of crisis.

“I go in there and often I can relate to an individual because I’ve been there, I’ve done it myself,” Dean said.

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For Dean, a three-time suicide survivor, this work is healing.

And he sees the importance of mobile crisis teams on the rise.

George Harris, Benchmark’s state crisis director, said community partnerships are critical.

“We’re on track to do about 7,000 face-to-face assessments in the community this fiscal year,” Harris said. “Collaboration is needed to help people with mental health problems.”

Fitzgerald calls the mental health epidemic a “call to arms.”

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