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Behavioral health crises and emergency response are inextricably linked, but how calls that relate to mental health are handled by 9-1-1 has recently become a topic under intense investigation.  

In this episode of RapidSOS Insider, Karin Marquez, Senior Director of Public Safety at RapidSOS, Stan Alleyne, Chief Communications Officer at Vitals and Oona Krieg, Chief Operating Officer at Brave discussed how medical data can play a critical role in shifting to community-based, health-centered emergency responses that can lead to better outcomes for people with behavioral health issues.

It has become increasingly clear that Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) need to 

  • Cultivate awareness of evolving legislation and new crisis response programs that could impact first response.
  • Create strategies to prepare for these changes and encourage their local community to participate.
  • Develop incident scenarios to explore how medical data from health companies can help support faster, more efficient emergency response.

Legislation to divert 9-1-1 calls related to mental health issues to appropriate crisis centers is being passed in many states, including Virginia, Illinois and Pennsylvania with the goal of improving first response and emergency care for people experiencing mental health crises. 

RapidSOS is an industry leader in the public safety world, leading the conversation on utilizing medical data to shift the emergency response to behavioral health crises with innovative partners like Vitals and Brave. These partners send data to public safety agencies through our emergency response data platform to empower faster, intelligent, and more data-driven emergency response, helping first responders save millions of lives each year. 

Intelligent Data for First Responders

The challenge facing ECCS is how to improve the outcomes of emergencies that involve people experiencing a mental/behavioral health crisis. Creating safer and more informed interactions between first responders and callers with mental/behavioral health concerns or vulnerable individuals can be a complex process, requiring informed interactions in real-time between 9-1-1 telecommunicators and concerned callers who may or may not be in the same place as the individuals in need of help.

  • Brave, an overdose detection platform, allows 9-1-1 and first responders to reclaim valuable minutes by launching a purposeful flow of information from the incident to emergency services.  
  • Vitals helps to fill in information gaps and provide guidance for preventing incident escalation, helping responders approach involved individuals in the scene safely and respectfully, armed with information designed to de-escalate and deliver a positive outcome.  

Currently, legislation is evolving with the aim of creating new response programs for dealing with individuals experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises. Examples that can affect your ECC were detailed in the webinar, including:

Data-driven response can help public safety agencies respond to these legislations and handle mental/behavioral health incidents appropriately. In our webinar, we explore several scenarios in which medical data from health companies can help support faster, more efficient emergency response, and discuss ways ECCs can prepare for these changes and encourage the local community to participate. 

We covered a series of examples related to informed emergency response for incidents involving at-risk individuals. Oona from Brave laid out the challenge of toxic drug supply, and how the Brave app can help save the lives of individuals who overdose by delivering life-saving data through RapidSOS to ECCs.

Stan from Vitals detailed how connecting their app with the RapidSOS Platform allows communities to protect the most vulnerable children and adults in times of crisis, informing first responders and telecommunicators of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or autism and guiding them in safe interactions for successful outcomes. 

Karin then explained how RapidSOS teamed up with Red Cross, American Heart Association, DirectRelief to launch the free Emergency Health Profile, designed to guide dispatchers in decision-making with regards to resource allocation, patient care, and the necessary equipment needed by first responders even if a caller is unable to articulate details about their emergency or state of health. 

Emergency Health Profile

To learn more about how response to mental health emergencies is being transformed by RapidSOS and partnered companies, view the webinar now. We hope you join us for future RapidSOS Insider episodes.