Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wouldn't it be great?

A friend of mine is doing ride time for her class.  Today was her first shift, so I listened in on the scanner, hoping to be able to hear what kind of calls she got to go to.

The very first call was for a mental health transport.
As was the next I heard.

All day long, county agencies got toned out for... mental health transports. I was told in my original EMT-B class that the most frequent calls are for mental health transports, and old ladies falling down- and they weren't kidding.

At one point today, an ambulance was at one of the mental health calls, when there was an MVA at practically the same location, and with the nearest ambulance busy, one had to be sent from considerably further away.

I'm sure this issue is not news to anyone who would read this blog. 

At that "training" a couple of nights ago, we were supposed to be learning about things that can be dangerous to responders. Certainly, mental health issues are at the top of that list.

But for the most part, we aren't very well trained to deal with them.

I've had a little training on restraint techniques, and a little on self defense. A lot on "stage for law enforcement."

Nothing on talking to someone who is depressed, or manic, or delusional, or anything. Nothing on de-escalation. Nothing on actually helping these people- just on transporting them.

So I was thinking.

Wouldn't it be great if we could have mental-health specific emergency services? An ambulance staffed with people who ARE trained (and experienced!) to handle these sorts of emergencies. People who are good at it.

Everyone would benefit.
No more ambulances out at a mental health transport call, when there is a need for trauma care nearby.
Services that would really help people, rather than hope to get them somewhere else, where they can get help.
Fewer calls where responders are in over their heads, and end up getting hurt.

I know.
It's not likely to happen.
But I think it would be great.

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