Neighborhood Center's MCAT: 24/7 crisis intervention to go

As the Centers for Disease Control warns of rising suicide rates, a local agency is on the phone and on the road, helping people and saving lives, in an effort to reverse that trend.

Posted: Oct 18, 2019 6:18 PM

As the Centers for Disease Control warns of rising suicide rates, a local agency is on the phone and on the road, helping people and saving lives, in an effort to reverse that trend.

"We're put in place in hopes that we can get to the individual before something like that occurs so not only is it preventative, it's also proactive, as well," says Kellie Dunn, M.S., LMSW, of the Neighborhood Center's MCAT, or, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team.

Crisis counselors staff the phones 24/7. If the phone call isn't enough, a team goes out to the person in need to do a face-to-face assessment. Crisis intervention, to go. They serve six counties, including Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego. 

"It could be the individual in crisis themselves that calls in to get assistance. It could be a school district calling on behalf of a child that's in crisis, could be law enforcement that needs assistance," says Dunn.

Sometimes, the person simply feels buried by life.

"They're losing their housing, or they're having financial issues. We have crisis ase managers that can essentially be a safety net for those people to get them the immediate help they need," says Dunn.

Other times, the need could be more emergent and a person could be in danger of harming themselves.

"We have the ability to work with law enforcement or work with county officials to designate that person to the emergency department," says Program Director, Kristin Sauerbier, LCSW.

Their numbers are rising. In 2018, the MCAT did 487 face-to-face assessments in Oneida County. This year, they've already done 409, with two and a half months left in the year. At 123, they're only six off from the total number in Otsego County last year.

For the workers, the real payday comes when families thank them. On Friday, Sauerbier read from a letter, handwritten by a grateful father. "Thank you for helping me decide how to help my son. Later, I was able to convince him to stay with his mom, stepfather, where, per his request, the four of us talked for an hour very peacefully. In summary, his mom, stepfather and I are still working together. Thank you.

"It's such a personal, heartfelt response to the outreach that we're able to provide," said Sauerbier. "It's everything. This is the reason why you continue to do what we do."

The number to call for the free MCAT services is 315.732.6228. The program is funded by Oneida County Department of Mental Health.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1694651

Reported Deaths: 48335
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2184108926
Kings2182459258
Suffolk1664973125
Nassau1526462956
Bronx1490725955
Westchester1103302125
New York1075853980
Erie668181618
Richmond589101605
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Albany21239335
Oneida19928481
Niagara15554316
Broome15461339
Saratoga12245149
Schenectady11039178
Ulster10331232
Rensselaer9233132
Putnam856586
Chautauqua7443126
Chemung6481130
Oswego611989
Ontario591490
St. Lawrence570191
Steuben5584139
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Wayne454065
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Genesee4483119
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Clinton378827
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Tompkins352343
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Cortland324160
Allegany293081
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Greene270971
Chenango250270
Otsego248643
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Washington240654
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Lewis210330
Seneca165554
Delaware159033
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Yates102426
Schuyler87312
Hamilton2862
Unassigned16199
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