A local response team is helping people cope with mental health issues

We’ve seen an increase in mental health crises since the pandemic.

On Friday, Channel 2′s Lori Wilson learned how a new response team is helping people cope.

Licensed clinical social worker Stacie Fitzgerald and Certified Peer Specialist Mike Dean are part of a mobile crisis team they work overnight waiting to get called to help someone having a mental health issue.

“People go through ups and downs in life and we’re here for the downs,” Fitzgerald said. “Literally they just had a meltdown with their spouse, they don’t know who to call, so they call 988 and they get us”

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The Georgia Crisis and Access Line or 988 routes the calls through its network of mobile crisis teams.

It was one of Stacie and Mike’s coworkers that responded to a call that Cobb County police posted about, someone desperate, wanting to jump from the top of a parking garage.

As a peer specialist, Dean says during a crisis, people just want to be heard.

“I go in there and a lot of times I can relate to an individual because I’ve been there I’ve done it myself,” Dean said.


Dean, a three-time suicide survivor, said this work is healing.

And that he’s seen the need for mobile crisis teams go way up.

George Harris, the state crisis director for Benchmark, says community partnerships are vital.

“We’re on track to do almost 7,000 face-to-face assessments in the community this fiscal year,” Harris said. “It takes a collaboration to help people when they’re having a mental health crisis.”

Fitzgerald called the mental health epidemic a “call to arms.”

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