Mobile crisis team reaching out to Brown County

Brown Co. Board told mental health support offered around the clock

NEW ULM — In an effort to increase recognition that May is mental health awareness month, Horizon Homes, Inc. Crisis Services Director Tina Olson was invited to present vital service information to Brown County commissioners Tuesday.

“We’re here to talk about the South Central Mental Health Crisis Team extending into Brown County since last August,” said Olson.

“We want people to look at our services as more of an upstream approach. We don’t want to continue to try to access people when they’re in crisis, when they need law enforcement or go to the hospital for things beyond what our services provide,” she added.

Olson said most mobile crisis services in 2023 were completed face to face in the mobile crisis office operating at a number of locations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We’ve been doing outreach, marketing and education about what our services are to community members in our 10-county region. The need for substance use treatment is really growing,” she added.

Olson said the mobile crisis team is available around the clock to respond to adults and youth experiencing a mental health crisis.

Services provide support in the comfort of an individual’s home or other community location in Brown, Nicollet, Sibley, Watonwan plus Blue Earth, Faribault, Freeborn, Le Sueur, Martin and Rice Counties.

Psychiatric emergency services are a collaboration with Horizon Homes of Mankato, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the South Central Community Based Initiative, a regional partnership created to significantly improve services that promote recovery for adults with mental illness.

“Self-referrals are always our highest referral source. We’re putting time and effort in communities to make sure people are aware of what we provide. We spend a lot of time in schools meeting students, when schools invite us and meeting with community providers,” Olson said.

She said the South Central Mobile Crisis Team is looking at rebranding with a Mankato marketing business to decrease the emphasis on mobile crisis because sometimes people think they’ll respond in 15 minutes and replace what law enforcement and EMS (emergency medical services) do, which is not what the service does.

Mobile service locations were in an individual’s home, at another site in the county, in a Brown County office, or in a hospital.

Telehealth services are also available. The most common outcome is crisis center referral.

Sending the mobile crisis center to Brown County last year cut average crisis response times by about 30 minutes.

Mobile Crisis Center response times in Brown County from September through December, 2023 averaged one hour, 49 minutes.

In 2022, Brown County response times prior to the mobile crisis center, averaged two hours, 20 minutes, according to data presented by Horizon Homes.

Commissioner Dave Borchert, who is also the New Ulm Police chief, said he’d like to consult with Olson regarding how the crisis team works with law enforcement.

“We’re willing to partner with anybody and everybody. People can call us and talk to a (mental health) practitioner. Our job is to provide supplemental support 24-7. If they need a safe place to be, but don’t need hospital-level care, they can come to our crisis center if they’re over 18,” she said.

The mobile crisis team meets with people experiencing feelings of stress or feeling overwhelmed, have plans or thoughts of hurting themselves or others, find it hard to complete normal daily activities due to stress or other symptoms and may have mood, anxiety or panic attacks, hallucinations, or delusions.

Brown County residents served in 2023 included 50 adults and seven children. Data included 27 self-referrals, nine from hospitals, five from family, friends or significant others, three each from mental health, detox/chemical dependency providers and case managers, and two each from residential providers, law enforcement and others, according to Horizon Homes Brown County data.

If crisis team clients don’t have insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover mobile crisis team services, individuals will not be billed directly. If available, Insurance information will be used to bill insurance companies.

“We can help people file for supplemental insurance and we have a fee waiver with grants to offset some of the fees,” Olson said.

Mobile crisis team requirements include individual identification, an insurance card if applicable and any medications in original bottles.

Horizon Homes recently expanded its facilities at 825 S. Front Street, Mankato. A 24-hour crisis line is 877-399-3040.


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