For Immediate Release: April 22, 2010
Phone: (860) 550-6305
Pager: (860) 260-0940
Revamped Statewide Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS) Offers Immediate Help for Children, Families and Caregivers By Dialing 2-1-1
Program supported by public awareness campaign launched today
HARTFORD, Conn. In Connecticut, children and adolescents who experience an emotional or behavioral crisis can receive immediate and high-quality psychiatric assistance through Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS), a recently enhanced intervention program that serves children in their homes and communities. The program will be highlighted in a statewide radio campaign launched today. A transit campaign is also part of this effort.
Funded by the State of Connecticut in partnership with the United Way of Connecticut, EMPS can be accessed through 2-1-1. It comprises a team of nearly 150 trained mental health professionals across the state that can respond immediately by phone, or in-person within 45 minutes, when a child is experiencing an emotional or behavioral crisis.
"The purpose of the program is to serve children at their locations, reduce the number of visits to hospital emergency rooms, and divert them from hospitalization if a different level of care is a safe, effective alternative," Department of Children and Families Commissioner Susan I. Hamilton said. "We believe a more fluid system of psychiatric care will help us respond even more efficiently to the children who are in need of this kind of assistance."
EMPS is available to all Connecticut residents and can be accessed by dialing 2-1-1 and, at the prompt, pressing "1" for "crisis." Callers are connected to a crisis specialist who obtains information and performs triage. Appropriate calls are transferred to a local EMPS provider who will perform an evaluation and determine whether the child can be safety maintained at his or her location and await a visit from that provider, or be transported immediately to a local hospital emergency department.
If transport is not required, and the situation needs immediate attention, at least one trained clinician will be dispatched to the location. Following the initial crisis, the clinician and other members of the provider team will meet with the family for up to six weeks, develop an action plan, and connect them with additional resources within the community.
Hours of Operation
Counselors are available immediately to talk by phone and evaluate the situation,
24 hours a day, 365 days per year. EMPS hours of mobility are: 9 am – 10 pm, Monday through Friday; and 1 pm – 10 pm on weekends and holidays.
EMPS Program Enhancements and Results
In mid-2009, EMPS underwent a series of improvements, including expanded hours of mobility, the addition of staff, standardized statewide training for providers and staff, and enhanced data collection and reporting.
- Based on second quarter data, October-December 2009, EMPS is projecting a 46 percent increase in call volume, compared to the years preceding recent program improvements.
- Since 2007, EMPS has shown a significant improvement in mobility, e.g., clinicians visiting children and caregivers in their homes and communities. From October through December 2009, the percentage of calls that received a mobile—versus a telephone or office contact—increased from an average of 53 percent to more than 80 percent, compared with previous years of operation.
- On average, both EMPS workers and parents of the children that receive an EMPS intervention with follow-up, reported a significant improvement in that child's functioning between intake and discharge.
Additional Resources and a More Fluid System for Meeting Children's Behavioral Health Needs in Connecticut.
- In Connecticut, community-based behavioral health funding totaled $69.2 million in 2009, an increase of 65 percent compared with 2004 ($41.7 million).
- Intensive in-home clinical services and family support services doubled in the last three years, assisting more than 3,000 children and their families in 2009, compared to 1,500 children in 2006.