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Crisis Services Are Available to All Arizonans

by Amy Devins, Supervisor-First Responder Services & Urgent Engagement

Many Arizonans are unaware that crisis services are available to all Arizonans regardless of their health insurance coverage or lack thereof. These services are provided to anyone who calls the crisis line at no cost.

For all of Northern, including Flagstaff, and Southern Arizona, Arizona Complete Health manages the crisis system. Arizona Complete Health is a family of health plans serving individuals enrolled in AHCCCS (Arizona Complete Health-Complete Care Plan, AzCH-CCP, and Care1st), Medicare (Wellcare) and the Health Insurance Marketplace (Ambetter). Crisis services are provided through a contract with the AHCCCS program and are part of the broader set of services provided by the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) for that region – Care1st in the North and AzCH-CCP in the South.

Arizona Complete Health is committed to community partnerships and collaboration with first responder and criminal justice agencies to improve health outcomes for our communities. As the RBHA in your community, we are responsible for oversight and creation of a robust and easy to navigate Crisis System that’s available 24/7, 365 days a year.

In Northern Arizona over the past year, we have expanded the Crisis System and increased resources and availability. This expansion includes five Northern Arizona counties and the continued oversight of seven Southern Arizona counties and eight tribal nations. Our 24-hour Crisis System – which includes the AZ Crisis Line, Crisis Mobile Teams (CMTs) and Crisis Observation Centers – is available to everyone regardless of insurance or eligibility. No one is denied for Crisis Services.

The AZ Crisis Line can be reached by calling (844) 534-4673 (HOPE), or texting 44673 (4 HOPE) 24/7. Behavioral Health professionals are here to support any member of the community during their time of need with no limits on reasons for calling. We define a “crisis” as anything outside a person’s ability to cope and we adhere to a strict “no wrong door” policy. Most calls to the Crisis Line are resolved over the phone and that caller is referred to services within their community. In some cases, a Crisis Mobile Team of behavioral health professionals is dispatched to meet the person where they are.

We do understand there will still be calls made to 9-1-1 asking for help, either by a person in crisis or a community member. Because of this, we have dedicated resources to developing programs that connect traditional 9-1-1 emergency services to Crisis Services for call transfers and community dispatch. It is our goal to integrate the Crisis System so seamlessly into the emergency services system that Crisis becomes as ubiquitous as Police and Fire/EMS.

The Crisis Services Department has a specific team called First Responder Services. This team is focused on Crisis System outreach, collaboration, and education. This team develops and improves Crisis System processes and programs for system partners (to include law enforcement & fire/EMS departments, 9-1-1 operations centers, county health departments, emergency departments and crisis service providers). They also provide education and trainings to system partners and community members, including but not limited to Crisis System Overviews, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), Resiliency, and Crisis Intervention Team, Intl. (CIT). In 2023, our team trained 2,376 Arizona first responders and system partners in various curricula and we are always happy to connect to more partners. The goal of the team is to increase confidence in, and usage of, the Crisis System as an alternative to detention and emergency departments.

The success of our Crisis System relies on ease of access to services. We exist to make things easier for our community members to access care. In our first year in Northern Arizona, we have seen an increase in overall utilization. We hope that this trend continues throughout 2024.

We are always available for questions or feedback, and to discuss trends. Our First Responder contact for Flagstaff area is:

Bill Mitchell

First Responder Liaison, Coconino &Yavapai County

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