As of this month, there's a new option that mental health advocates in New Hampshire have been asking for for at least a decade: a 24/7 phone line answered by trained mental health staff and, for those who need more, a mobile crisis response team that goes to them. The hope is that a quicker response to the community will spare people emergency room waits and provide them the appropriate level of care, which can often be immediate stabilization and a next‐day appointment with a counselor. Staff from the New Hampshire Department of HHS have said they expect call center staff will resolve 80 % of cases without dispatching a crisis response team. The Rapid Response Access Point, more commonly referred to as mobile crisis response, began Jan. 1 with surprisingly little publicity by the state or the company contracted to run it. In fact, community mental health centers said their two biggest challenges are hiring enough staff and making sure the public knows how to access the new service. Run by Beacon Health Options of Boston, the 24‐hour phone and text line — 1‐833‐710‐6477 — will be staffed by master's‐level clinicians, intake workers and peer support specialists who have lived experience with mental health or substance use disorders, according to its $9.2 million contract with the state. The phone and text line will be replaced with 988, the new national suicide prevention hotline, when it goes live in July. Now, all 10 of the state's community mental health centers will have a crisis response team thanks to a $52.4 million state contract.
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