Media Contacts

Kathy Wilets

Manager, Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 801-581-5717

Mar 13, 2012 12:35 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Mayor Peter Corroon announced today the launch of a new mobile mental health crisis unit that will help increase access to mental health services for county residents. The program is a key part of the new partnership among Salt Lake County, OptumHealth and the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI).

 When an individual faces a mental health crisis they often unnecessarily end up in the hospital or jail because they have nowhere else to go. To better serve people facing a mental health crisis, a new Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (UNI MCOT) will travel directly to the individual in need to provide immediate help.

 “We are thrilled to offer this critical new service to residents of Salt Lake County,” said Mayor Corroon. “Salt Lake County is dedicated to serving vulnerable populations, and this 24/7 crisis team takes an innovative approach to provide help to those who need it most.”

 There will be three UNI MCOTs serving Salt Lake County. Each team will include a licensed mental health professional and a Certified Peer Specialist. The Certified Peer Specialist is an important team member because he/she is in recovery from their own mental health issue, which can be comforting to those experiencing a mental health crisis. A psychiatrist is available by telephone for consultation to the team if needed.

 When the UNI MCOT arrives on scene they conduct a psychiatric assessment and help stabilize the person. After the situation is under control, the team members will refer individuals to appropriate community mental health resources and provide consultation to their families and care provider. The teams will also follow-up with the person to make sure he or she goes to recommended referrals or appointments.

 "When a person experiences a mental health crisis it’s important to get them treatment and support as soon as possible,” said Rick Elorreaga, executive director for OptumHealth® Salt Lake County. “The UNI MCOT enhances Salt Lake County’s mental health system by making it easier for people to access the mental health services they need to ultimately reach long-term recovery.”

 The teams will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. UNI MCOTs will be dispatched when an individual, family member or community stakeholder calls the county crisis line (801-587-3000). The team can also be activated when law enforcement requests backup in crisis situations. Services begin on March 15.

 The UNI MCOT is managed by OptumHealth as part of its contract with Salt Lake County. The service is operated by University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute.