Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit (MCIU)

The City of New Orleans, through the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) has partnered with Resources for Human Development (RHD) Inc., a non-profit organization, to operate a Community Responder Model (CRM) program integrated within the existing City of New Orleans’ local 9-1-1 emergency response dispatch system. This CRM program is named the New Orleans Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit (MCIU).

About MCIU

The MCIU team consists of licensed clinical social workers and counselors who provide support and expertise to certified behavioral crisis emergency response operators. Teams are supervised by licensed mental health clinicians, and will consist of at least two or more behavioral crisis responders, including peer support specialists and mental health professionals.

Mission

To be the fourth branch of the 9-1-1 emergency response system, specializing in innovative behavioral crisis health care.

Goals 

  1. Provide compassionate and immediate behavioral health care in the least restrictive setting.
  2. Reduce the use of hospital emergency departments and recidivisms by offering behavioral crisis intervention and support in the community.
  3. Divert nonviolent emergency behavioral health calls away from police and other emergency first responders.

How It Works

When someone in Orleans Parish calls 9-1-1 to report a nonviolent behavioral health crisis, the call is diverted to the MCIU and answered by a professional trained in community behavioral health crisis care response 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The MCIU expert will assess the call to determine the severity of the crisis. If the concern or crisis cannot be resolved over the phone, a MCIU team will be already dispatched and on the way to the location of the crisis.

When dispatched, teams will travel in identifiable, wheelchair accessible vans appropriate for patient transport to an appropriate care level location, if needed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of calls will MCIU respond to?

MCIU teams will respond to nonviolent behavioral health calls. There is a wide variety of situations that might fall into that category, including people experiencing psychosis, thoughts of suicide, urgent need for substance use treatment and responses to trauma, for example.

MCIU teams will not respond to any crisis that involves weapons, threats of violence, an active suicide attempt or other medical emergency. In those cases the appropriate emergency responder will be dispatched.

When to call MCIU for assistance?

If you or someone you witness appears to be experiencing an emergency behavioral health crisis, dial 9-1-1.

How many calls does the MCIU expect to respond to?

Data from April of 2018 through June of 2021 provided by the Orleans Parish Communication Department (OPCD / “9-1-1 call center”) indicated that about 2,920 calls per year or about 8 calls per day could have been diverted to the New Orleans MCIU teams using these protocols.

The calls diverted to MCIU should further relieve the burden on police and other first responders and subsequently reduce recidivism by providing expert clinicians to deal with complex mental health and social needs, addressing causal factors that is generally not within the scope of law enforcement duties.

NOLA MCIU Community Advisory Board Application

To promote community oversight and ongoing collaboration with program leaders, NOHD is launching a Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the MCIU in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice. Broadly, CAB members will be tasked with sharing feedback on MCIU policies and performance with NOHD and RHD staff, as well as other relevant agency representatives, to ensure that program activities reflect the insights of directly impacted community members and ultimately meet community needs.

CAB meetings will focus on a range of topics, including:

  • programmatic updates;
  • community education;
  • coordination with other community resources; and
  • strategies for ensuring transparency and data-driven implementation.

Register for the CAB

Bilingual community members with Spanish, Vietnamese and ASL knowledge are encouraged to apply!

To learn more about RHD, visit New Orleans Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit - Resources for Human Development (rhd.org)