"In another community, emergency rescuers find themselves dealing with a woman who entered a stranger's home to use the telephone. She insists she must call the president of the United States, who has been talking to her through her television. She claims that because she didn't follow his instructions, a tsunami and hurricanes occurred, killing hundreds of thousands."
You've probably been on a call quite similar to this one. Did you feel prepared? Hopefully, you'd had adequate training beforehand. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a training program for first responders who will inevitably encounter patients with mental illness. The program focuses on de-escalating a mental health crisis.This training is currently done a on volunteer basis in Maine, as it is not required by their public safety agencies. But providers who have attended find the training very helpful and feel much better prepared for these calls.
"Crisis Intervention Paramedic" is the pin that our Advanced Practice Paramedics and District Chiefs receive after completing this course. An added benefit, they attend this program with the same police officers that they work with on the street. The staff of our county mental health crisis unit and the volunteers from NAMI do a great job, and the results on the street are outstanding - including one scene where a CIP-trained medic was able to talk out an armed, suicidal person who simply refused to speak with anyone from law enforcement.
This is an area where EMS folks are seriously under-trained, one of the many where our curriculum badly needs enhancement.