According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, mobile crisis services are an important part of mental health services, and some form of the service is now available in all 87 counties. Mobile crisis teams are made up of mental health professionals and practitioners who provide psychiatric services to individuals within their own homes and at other sites outside the traditional clinical setting. Mobile crisis services provide rapid response, working to assess the individual, resolve crisis situations, and link people to needed services.

Research has shown that mobile crisis services are:

  • effective at diverting people in crisis from psychiatric hospitalization,
  • effective at linking suicidal individuals to services,
  • better than hospitalization at linking people in crisis to outpatient services, and
  • effective in finding hard-to-reach individuals.

Mobile crisis interventions are face-to-face, short-term, intensive mental health services provided during a mental health crisis or emergency. These services help the recipient to: 

  • Cope with immediate stressors and lessen his/her suffering
  • Identify and use available resources and recipient’s strengths
  • Avoid unnecessary hospitalization and loss of independent living
  • Develop action plans
  • Begin to return to his/her baseline level of functioning

In 2016, more than $13.6 million in mobile mental health crisis grants were awarded to local service providers across the state. The goal is to offer mobile mental health services 24/7 in every county by 2018.

Minnesota Management and Budget’s cost-benefit analysis (p 35) found that mobile crisis services benefited communities and society through decreased hospitalization and decreased crime. The report states that some barriers remain: crisis providers meeting someone outside of the office receive a lower payment than an office visit. They are also unable to bill for telephone support, service coordination, or travel, and many counties, especially in Greater Minnesota, still do not have the service 24/7.