Paramedics for Mental Health?

An innovative program sends mental health first responders out onto the streets.

In most cities around the nation, police departments, fire departments, and emergency medical services respond to calls related to substance abuse, emotional distress, and other mental health issues—whether they are trained to handle these issues or not.

But what if there were an equivalent of an EMT or paramedic for psychiatric problems? That is the idea behind CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping out on the Streets). In this Mental Health Minute, Ben Adam Climer explains the history, philosophy, and efficacy of the CAHOOTS program.

Mr Climer worked for CAHOOTS as a crisis worker for 5 years and an EMT for 2.5 of those years. He now lives in Pasadena, CA where he helps Southern California cities develop CAHOOTS-style programs.