Updated: January 25, 2021 11:13 PM
Created: January 25, 2021 09:09 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A "Person in Crisis" team has launched in Rochester and will be used as an alternative response to mental health calls.
Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres, who serves as the commissioner for the Department of Recreation and Human Services in the city says this program is needed now more than ever. Lyman-Torres says this was a 90-day plan she poured her heart and soul into.
"This team is for situations that really could be solved with community-based connections, community support, connection to services that are available in our community and it will also identifying where they might not be available,” Dr. Lyman-Torres said.
Lyman-Torres says since the launch last Thursday, they have responded to many calls and that their efforts are working. The program operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each response team will be made up of behavioral health professionals like social workers and mental health counselors. To access the team directly, you would dial 2-1-1.
Lyman-Torres says if anyone decides to dial 9-1-1, that’s fine too. The dispatcher will ask a set of questions and sent out the PIC team. Lyman-Torres added that de-escalation techniques are crucial to the protection of community members.
"The tragedy that did happen with Daniel Prude was a catalyst for our community to speak up about what it wanted in our behavioral health system,” Lyman-Torres said.
Lyman-Torres also tells News10NBC that this program will help the community pool resources together to reconnect people with the right services that will help them long term.
"The emergency room and the criminal justice system can't necessarily connect people with long term recovery or success,” Lyman-Torres said.
People who have lived in Rochester for years, say this program is something every community should have.
"A chance for a group to intervene or be in the middle of the action or whatever is going on, it’s going to be a positive,” Manny Rosario said.
City officials say the pilot will run through June, and that they will update community members on its progress every step of the way.
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