Mobile Mental Health Crisis Intervention

The Research Question:

“What models of mobile–-i.e., face-to-face–-crisis intervention have proven effective in managing potentially violent mental health crises occurring outside the hospital setting?"



The impetus for this research was Recommendation #15 of the 2003 Luther Inquiry into the deaths of Norman Reid and Darryl Power in Newfoundland and Labrador:

“IT IS FURTHER RECOMMENDED that the Regional Health Boards establish mobile health units to respond to mentally ill persons in crisis where no criminal offence is alleged. Each unit would be developed locally and based on local needs.”

Our stakeholder partners in the Western Regional Health Authority asked us to identify a range of mobile crisis intervention service models, some of which may be better suited to lower-density, rural populations and some of which may be better suited to higher-density areas like Corner Brook. Our partners expressed a particular interest in models that can be implemented with minimal additional human resources, but that involve local, face-to-face contact rather than telephone, electronic, or clinic-based models of service delivery.

The term “crisis intervention” generally refers to any immediate, short-term therapeutic interventions or assistance provided to an individual or group of individuals who are in acute psychological distress or crisis. The term encompasses a number of after-the-fact interventions – such as rape counseling and critical incident stress debriefing – that would not be relevant to the kinds of situations described in the Luther Report.

Researchers and Consultants:

For this report, researchers from the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research included: Robert Kean, Research Officer, Contextualized Health Research Synthesis Program (CHRSP), Dr. Stephen Bornstein, Director of NLCAHR, and Sarah Mackey, Research Assistant. Our team consulted with Dr. Dorothy Cotton, a registered psychologist whose practice includes clinical and correctional/forensic psychology. 



Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000