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Nonprofits helping thousands in crisis across the Valley

mental health response
Posted at 4:55 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 07:55:52-04

Conversations about mental health are important, but sometimes mental health issues may be hard to talk about.

So, when do you have that conversation with loved ones?

At least two non-profit organizations in the valley are helping people in crisis across the state, for free.

Folks working closely with people suffering from mental health issues, at Solari Crisis & Human Services and La Frontera EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center, tell us crisis never sleeps.

Which is why both organizations make sure lines and resources are open and available 24/7.

Folks at Solari Crisis & Human Services work around the clock to be there when someone needs help.

“We have a 24/7, 365 crisis line that's considered best practice in the country. We operate 211 Arizona, which is a human services database of resources where someone can call and get help 24/7,” said Matthew Moody, the Director of Contact Center Operations at Solari Crisis & Human Services.

Moody says helping save lives is what it’s all about.

“We’re actually the largest, per volume, crisis line in the country. We answer about 25,000-30,000 calls per month and we dispatch about 3,600 mobile teams throughout the state,” he added.

Solari Crisis & Human Services then calls La Frontera EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center in Tempe, another non-profit that’s been helping people in crisis for decades.

“EMPACT is an acronym. Emergent Mobile Pediatric And Children's Crisis Teams,” said Michele Russell, the Manager of Crisis Services at EMPACT

Russell says they average about 700 to 900 mobile dispatches per month.

“We’re responding to three, four dispatches a day,” she told ABC15.

50% of calls are for children, the other 50% are for adults. Here are some of the challenges Cody McGiffen, a member of EMPACT’s Mobile Crisis Team, says they face.

“There’s a decent number of calls where we get requested out, but the identified client is not interested in our service,” said McGiffin.

ABC15 rode with EMPACT’s team to a school, to help a 4th grader in crisis in the west Valley.

"We're being requested out to an elementary school by school staff for a student that sounds like was self-harming last week," said Matt Larson, another member of EMPACT’s Mobile Crisis Team.

ABC15 didn't have permission to record inside the school, and our team waited, out of respect for the student’s privacy.

Though, the team was there for hours.

“We don't have a set time, and sometimes the more time you spend, the better position you can leave the client in,” said Larson.

The Mobile Crisis Team also provided the child’s parent resources for treatment, and follow-ups.

When having a conversation about mental health, representatives with Solari and EMPACT say it starts with asking basic questions for any age group.

“How are you doing today? How can we help you?” said Russell.

“And don’t be afraid to ask a little bit more in depth. Like, hey I’ve noticed something’s been a little bit off recently or you’ve had a really difficult thing happen, what’s going on?” added Moody.

As far as when to have the conversation:

“There’s always a good time to talk about mental health,” Russell told ABC15.

These two organizations also partner with police and fire departments across the Valley.

“The mobile teams, crisis line, and the brick-and-mortar facilities in Maricopa County diverted 26,000 calls last year. So those are police either not having to go out. Police on scene, that a mobile team comes and takes over,” said Moody.

At the end of the day, Moody and Russel say their organizations will always go the extra mile to make people seeking help have the resources they need.

“We’re here to help,” Moody told ABC15.

Solari Crisis & Human Services resources:
Address: 1275 West Washington Street, Suite 210 -Tempe, Arizona 85281
Number: 602-427-4600

Crisis lines:
Central Arizona: 800-631-1314
Central Arizona (TTY): 800-327-9254
Northern Arizona: 877-756-4090

La Frontera EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center resources:

Address: 618 S. Madison Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281
Main Office: 480-784-1514
Crisis Hotline: 480-784-1500, 800-273-8255