Mobile Crisis Team ready to respond to those in need

Service now available to Hamilton County residents struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental illnesses

Central Iowa Community Services and its partner organization, Eyerly Ball Mental Health Services are now offering mobile crisis response services in Franklin, Hamilton, and Hardin counties. The team servicing this three-county area will be known as the north team.

CICS and Eyerly Ball officially launched their new mobile crisis response services in Jasper, Madison, Poweshiek and Warren counties March 26. Mobile crisis response services for the other six counties of Boone, Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin, Marshall and Story were on hold until staffing capacities were met.

With the launch of the central team on May 29, the only remaining counties of the CICS region waiting on mobile crisis response services were Franklin, Hamilton and Hardin counties. This three-county area launched on June 18 at 7 a.m.

CICS and Eyerly Ball Mental Health Services announced in early 2018 they will provide new mobile crisis response services for central Iowans in the CICS region struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other mental illnesses. The mobile crisis response team responds to and remains with callers in a crisis. Officials said this frees up local police forces to continue their patrols on the streets of the communities they serve.

In collaboration with Foundation 2, the Cedar Rapids-based organization operating CICS’s 24-hour Central Iowa Crisis Line — (844) 258-8858 — the mobile crisis response team will operate 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, with no less than two providers, trained according to requirements of Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 24. This means when someone calls the Central Iowa Crisis Line, a trained crisis counselor will determine if the caller needs in-person, preventive care and can dispatch a response team to the caller’s location within the hour.

“This is huge for the CICS region’s residents who may need crisis services at any hour of the day,” said CICS CEO Jody Eaton. “Right now, that responsibility falls on local police officers who can’t always stay by someone’s side throughout the night as they deal with their crisis. Having a trained team respond and coordinate care for individuals in need will be critical for improving mental health services in central Iowa.”

CICS put out a request for proposal in 2017 for its providers to bid on the program. In late 2017, Eyerly Ball was chosen as the provider to administer the program, and a goal of initiating operations in March 2018 was set. Krystina Engle was named director of crisis services, overseeing the new effort and implementing its launch.

“We’re so excited to begin offering this crucial service to central Iowans,” Engle said. “Our trained staff are ready to hit the ground running, responding to individuals in need 24-7 and making our communities safer and healthier for all.”