IF YOUR ARE IN CRISIS
OR NEED HELP NOW - CALL 911 or 610-279-6100
For about two months, six volunteers from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) Montgomery County have been on-site at MCES. Their role is to assist and support family members and others attending the Mental Health Court as petitioners who filed a request for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation (known as a "302") on individuals felt to present a danger to themselves or others and could not or would not accept help. The hearings assure that the individual's rights have been respected and determine if on-going court-ordered treatment is indicated.
Most petitioners are family members of the patients who are involuntarily admitted to MCES through the 302 process. All struggled with the decision to take this step and have many questions about it and what they can do to help their relative or friend after the involuntary phase of treatment is completed. MCES staff and the Montgomery County Commitment Office Delegates give much information.
The NAMI volunteers, all of whom have family members with serious mental illness and some of whom have been petitioners, bring a valuable peer perspective to the discussions. In addition, the NAMI representatives introduce those coming to the hearings to educational and support resources available to help families understand and cope with serious mental illness.
In 2011, MCES issued the "ACE" (Ask, Care, Engage) card succinctly stating how to help someone who might be suicidal. The card was adapted from a similar resource used by the Veterans Administration (VA). MCES has now adapted another VA suicide prevention resource for general community use.
Last spring, MCES began working with the Rocky Mountain MIRECC (Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center) for VA Suicide Prevention, Denver, CO to make practical suicide prevention information more available. The first product is a new trifold based on the ACE Card. MCES is now working with the Rocky Mountain MIRECC on a version of the ACE trifold based on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that will be made available nation-wide.
On September 10, 2014, the first signs giving the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) were posted at the Norristown Transportation Center suburban rail station. This was the product of a collaboration of SEPTA and MCES.
Since then more than 1000 signs have been placed at both SEPTA commuter rail and subway-surface trolley stations throughout the region. Other commuter rail carriers have followed SEPTA's lead.
Over the last two years, the MCES Crisis Center has received calls on the Lifeline from suicidal people who saw the signs and called for help from the platform. MCES appreciates SEPTA's strong commitment to suicide prevention.
MCES has been part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network since 2013. The Lifeline is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded program involving crisis centers and hotlines across the US that respond to calls to 1-800-273-TALK.
MCES was recently selected as one of eight sites to participate in an evaluation of Lifeline services to callers who may be at imminent risk of suicide. The study designed to improve crisis workers' abilities to identify and intervene with callers at varying levels of risk. The chief investigator on the project is Madelyn S. Gould, PhD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, and Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The study begins this month.
Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc.
50 Beech Drive, Norristown, PA
610-279-6100 or toll free 844-455-7455