Mobile Crisis Teams use face-to-face interventions with the identified individual in crisis, as well as their family or other support systems, to engage, assess, de-escalate and connect individuals to the most appropriate services. Most MCTs include both professional and paraprofessional staff, for example, a master’s-level clinician with a peer support staff person. MCTs have common goals to:
a. Assist individuals experiencing a crisis event to resolve the crisis situation when possible.
b. Provide intervention in an environment where the individual experiencing the crisis is most comfortable and the intervention is least restrictive (often their home or other place in the community);
c. Provide appropriate care/support while avoiding unnecessary law enforcement involvement, emergency department use, and hospitalization when possible;
d. Link individuals in crisis to all necessary medical and behavioral health services that can help resolve the situation and prevent future crises.
You can request help from a mobile crisis team if you are concerned about a family member, friend, or acquaintance who is experiencing (or at risk of) a behavioral health crisis. You can also request a team for yourself. To request a team, call NYC Well at (888) NYC-WELL (888-692-9355). If you are a provider looking to make a referral for a client/patient/student please use the online form below.
NYC Definition of Behavioral Health Crisis
Person in New York City who is experiencing, or is at risk of, a behavioral health crisis defined as non-life-threatening situation in which a person experiences an intense behavioral, emotional, or psychiatric response triggered by a precipitating event. The person may be at risk of harm to self or others, disoriented or out of touch with reality, functionally compromised, or otherwise agitated and unable to be calmed. If this crisis is left untreated, it could result in an emergency.
Criteria for an in-home/community response by a Mobile Crisis Team (MCT)
The person currently meets the NYC definition for a behavioral health crisis; AND the person is unwilling or unable to seek or adhere to behavioral health care on their own or with the aid of a family member, caregiver, or friend; OR the person requires short-term supports until behavioral health services are available.
Mobile crisis teams can provide mental health engagement, intervention, and follow-up support to help overcome resistance to treatment. Depending on what a person is willing to accept, the teams may offer a range of services, including:
• Crisis intervention
• Supportive counseling
• Information and referrals, including to community-based mental health services
If a mobile crisis team determines that a person in crisis needs further psychiatric or medical assessment, they can transport that person to a hospital psychiatric emergency room.
Mobile crisis teams may direct police/EMS to take a person to an emergency room against their will only if they have a mental illness (or the appearance of mental illness) and are a danger to themselves or others. This is in accordance with New York State Mental Hygiene Law.
Expedited Online Form for Providers and School Personnel
Providers and school personnel requesting a mobile crisis referral for an individual/student in their care are strongly encouraged to use the expedited online submission during the hours of 9am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). NYC Well’s MCT Referral Online Form is a short, one-page form that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once received, the referral will be processed in approximately 20 minutes and a staff member will contact you to advise of the outcome of the request. By taking advantage of the online submission process you will save time, and also allow NYC Well phone counselors to be more available to assist individuals in crisis.
MCT referrals are accepted from 9am – 4:30pm EST weekdays (excluding holidays). Outside of these hours, providers can also request a Mobile Crisis Team referral by calling NYC Well.