The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH), in partnership with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department, launched its Community Crisis Response and Intervention (CCRI) Program in Beaufort County on Aug. 1. CCRI will provide on-site emergency psychiatric screening and assessment to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies within 60 minutes of contact with the CCRI team. The service will be available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and can be reached, toll-free, at (833) DMH-CCRI (364-2274).
The team will work with local police departments and members of the community throughout Beaufort County, with plans to eventually expand to statewide coverage.
“Our goal is to quickly link people in crisis to appropriate levels of care and divert them from unnecessary hospitalizations and incarcerations,” CCRI Director Amanda Gilchrist said.
CCRI, a program of the SCDMH Division of Community Mental Health Services, began providing services in May in Berkeley County. The program was initiated to address emergent psychiatric crises in the community by means of assessment and referral. It provides clinical screenings to both adults and children in one of several ways: in person at the location of crisis, in person at a community mental health center, or by phone. In addition to accompanying team members to on-site screenings, Law Enforcement will access the CCRI for consultation or request a clinician dispatch to a scene as needed, allowing for a more efficient use of resources as well as a “warm hand-off” for individuals in need of evaluations.
In addition to assessing individuals in crisis, CCRI clinicians will educate individuals on available community resources, coordinate appropriate transfers and referrals, match patients to the most appropriate care, and serve as liaisons to the local SCDMH mental health center. The team will accept referrals from any community partner or individual reporting a psychiatric crisis.
“The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office looks forward to working side by side with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in this important initiative to help better understand and address issues of mental health in our community,” Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said.