MCRT Frequently Asked Questions
This page features frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) program and is updated regularly. Services are available for all ages and are provided Countywide.
- Who provides MCRT services?
MCRT is described as responding to a “behavioral health crisis” – what
does that mean?
- “Behavioral health” is a collective term which includes mental health and substance use conditions. A behavioral health crisis is when an individual is experiencing either a mental health crisis or a substance use crisis.
What does a behavioral health crisis look like?
- Though not all-inclusive, a behavioral health crisis may appear
in the following ways if you or someone you know is:
- Experiencing suicidal thoughts,
- Behaving in ways that concern close friends or family,
- Experiencing symptoms such as hearing voices, seeing things that other people don’t see, feeling like people are watching you.
- Though not all-inclusive, a behavioral health crisis may appear in the following ways if you or someone you know is:
How are MCRT services dispatched?
- Teams are deployed through calls made to the Access and Crisis Line (888-724-7240). Ultimately the dispatcher will assess the situation for risk and safety through a series of questions and will deploy MCRT, PERT (a clinician paired with law enforcement), or law enforcement.
Who makes up these teams?
- MCRTs are comprised of licensed mental health clinicians, case managers, and peer support specialists. To minimize stigma associated with behavioral health conditions, peer support specialists have a unique understanding of crisis situations through their lived experience which is valuable to engage with people in crisis and help them feel more comfortable.
Does MCRT serve all ages?
- Yes, MCRT serves all ages countywide.
Can I call MCRT for myself?
- MCRT is available for anyone who meets criteria. Callers may request help for themselves or others. Ultimately the dispatcher will assess the situation for risk and safety through a series of questions and will deploy MCRT, PERT (a clinician paired with law enforcement), or law enforcement.
Will I get in trouble if I call the Access and Crisis Line
(888-724-7240) and my situation needed something else?
- No. Dispatchers are trained to ask a series of questions designed to deploy the right services. Don’t hesitate to call if you think there might be a need.
What communities does MCRT serve?
- The MCRT program is offered countywide. Please refer to the information at the top of this page for more details.
Will law enforcement arrive at my home if I call for MCRT services?
- It depends. While the purpose of MCRT is to offer a non-law enforcement option, law enforcement presence is determined by the Access and Crisis Line (888-724-7240) dispatchers based on a set criteria for safety and information provided by the caller. Additionally, there may be times where law enforcement is needed if the situation escalates becoming a safety issue.
How does the Access and Crisis Line dispatcher know if I need MCRT or
- Using highly-informed criteria, the dispatcher will assess the situation and determine if MCRT or another responding agency, such as PERT or law enforcement, are the appropriate response.
What if I call for MCRT and the dispatcher determines I need law
enforcement, can I cancel the request?
- Criteria to dispatch law enforcement is based on risk and safety and ultimately the decision to cancel the request will be up to law enforcement/Access and Crisis Line.
What is the response time of MCRT?
- Response times are based on the availability of a team to respond and are prioritized depending on the urgency of the call.
What can I expect from MCRT when they arrive?
- MCRT will talk with the individual and conduct a clinical assessment to determine how to best assist and problem solve with the client. Services are designed to meet the individual “where they’re at” in a way that is responsive and respectful.
What happens to me or my loved one after MCRT arrives?
- It depends on the symptoms the person is exhibiting and their behavior. If the person is open to receiving services, the MCRT will conduct an assessment and if appropriate, provide crisis intervention services to de-escalate the situation. The MCRT will explain options, offer recommendations, and can provide transportation if needed. The goal is to connect the person to the service that is most appropriate to their need. See question below for examples of services.
What type of service connections might an individual receive through MCRT?
- The services offered will depend on the symptoms and the behavior of the person in crisis. If an individual needs more support than what can be provided by the MCRT, the MCRT may provide transportation to a crisis stabilization unit, a walk-in urgent center, or other appropriate location. Additionally, once the individual is no longer in crisis, the MCRT can provide services for up to 30 days to link and connect the individual to services as needed, such as: housing supports, substance use programs, mental health clinics, etc.
How does MCRT de-escalate a situation when someone is yelling/screaming?
- Teams are trained in numerous techniques that have been proven to de-escalate a situation. Some of the interventions include, but are not limited to: crisis counseling, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral therapy (exploring the impact of one's thoughts on their behaviors).
What does MCRT do if they arrive at a home and the person tells them to leave?
- MCRT will leave as MCRT is a voluntary service, meaning individuals are not required to receive services from them if they don’t wish to. If there is a safety concern, law enforcement can be engaged to respond.
What does MCRT do if they arrive and someone is exhibiting assaultive
behaviors, such as throwing objects, punching walls, making verbal
threats to harm others?
- If a person in crisis presents with assaultive behaviors to self, family members or the MCRT, MCRT will request assistance from a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) a clinician/law enforcement team, or other uniformed personnel.
Do the teams provide services in languages other than English?
- Yes, services are offered in English and Spanish. For other languages, interpreter services are available. The MCRT model places a high priority on hiring ethnically and linguistically diverse staff that are representative of the community they serve.
Is there a cost for MCRT services? Will I receive a bill for services or transportation?
- At this time, the MCRT services are free of charge and funded by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.
Does the MCRT response to school campus’s and/or universities?
Currently, the MCRT does not respond to schools, colleges, and universities. There is an internal workgroup that is developing the strategy to determine how to best respond to schools, colleges, and universities. This will be part of a strategic implementation approach.
Who can I call to access services or support for an individual who is
experiencing homelessness but not a behavioral health crisis?
You can contact your local Homeless Outreach Team or 2-1-1.
- Who can I contact if I would like MCRT training and education for groups?
- Is the MCRT hiring?
Page last updated 11/16/2022