CONCORD, N.H. (Good Medical) – For the past two years, the Concord Fire Department has been working to get people with a mental health crisis out of a hospital emergency department.

This team, in partnership with Riverbend Community Mental Health, is not unlike a normal emergency response: a Concord ambulance arrives at the scene and an emergency responder quickly assesses the patient to determine the type of care medical requirements.

If a patient needs help for mental health reasons, the respondent contacts a Riverbend clinician and decides which treatment is most appropriate, such as access to medication, a therapist or a bed. ;hospital.

A federal grant will allow the Fire Department to create a similar program for people with substance abuse disorders.

Concord's city council has decided to allocate $ 127,000 for funding for the ministry's mobile response team Monday night. If the governor and executive council approve a multi-million dollar federal grant to help first responders deal with the opioid crisis, it will be reimbursed, said deputy fire chief Concord, Aaron McIntire.

The opioid intervention team will work the same way as the mental health team, McIntire said. The unit of intervention may not always be an ambulance, but a worker will always assess the patient to determine their medical needs and appropriate treatment options.

The Concord fire will involve its own opioid program manager, a contract employee whose position will be funded by the grant, according to a November report from Concord Fire Chief Dan Andrus.

The mobile unit is similar in nature to the "safe stations" model used in Manchester, where people can go to a fire station at any time and ask for help to connect to recovery services. .

But a fixed model would not work at Concord, said McIntire. The service meets an average of 9,000 service calls a year, which means that the city's four fire stations are often empty.

"The grant allows us to place the security station in a mobile vehicle," he said. "We will be in and in the community whenever they need it."

The mobile unit is crucial in light of the recent implementation of the state's "star" model to deal with the opioid crisis, McIntire said.

Beginning Jan. 2, people facing seizures or seeking treatment for addictions can call 211 and be referred to one of nine centers – including Riverbend Community Mental Health, which serves the Concord area. .

According to McIntire, more and more people seeking addiction and mental health treatment will be traveling to the city as the program grows in popularity.

The grant money would come from Project First, a program of drug treatment and mental health services administration. But the funding would only cover about half of the program's costs, McIntire said.

The SAMHSA grant was supposed to be a three-year program, but the first year was spent setting up the program, which meant that the grant for the first year was not available. The ministry is asking for a waiver that would allow them to access this first-year money and transfer it in this year, said McIntire.

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Online: https://bit.ly/2RMKxY4

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Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.concordmonitor.com