Wenatchee’s Youth Mobile Crisis Response Team Expands Help and Hope

Young people have a lot to deal with, and all the stresses of daily living can lead to mental health problems. Children and teens can feel like they have nowhere to turn and have no hope for a better future. This can lead to kids shutting down, lashing out, or engaging in harmful behaviors.

Last year, Catholic Charities in Wenatchee was awarded funding to create a fully-staffed, credentialed team to respond to youth in crisis in Chelan and Douglas Counties.

Referrals to the Catholic Charities Youth Mobile Crisis Response Team come through the national 9-8-8 crisis response and suicide prevention line and the region’s Crisis Connection Line at 509.662.7105. Those calls are screened, and the team is contacted if a crisis response is needed.

Jesus Mendoza, Program Manager, said there are various reasons a young person or their parent may call the crisis line.

“It could be because a kid is struggling with stress, emotional, angry outbursts, or a child or young adult is having some suicidal ideation,” he said. Youth are considered to be aged 20 or under.

Jesus explained that a crisis is defined by the person experiencing it. “We don’t define what a crisis is. That’s one of the things we’ve been heavily emphasizing with the schools is that a crisis does not necessarily mean suicidal ideation. The caller defines a crisis. If a youth is struggling, a team can go to them, respond, and provide service,” Jesus said. A crisis does not need to meet any requirement to qualify for support.

“We’re mobile crisis, so whenever we get a call, we go to wherever the

adolescent is – whether in their home, the hospital emergency room, school, or even in a neutral area like a park. We determine the crisis and whether we can de-escalate it to ensure the youth is safe.”

Then, the client begins the stabilization phase, which takes anywhere from 2-8 weeks. This includes teaching coping skills to both the youth and the parent,

connecting them with resources and services, and monitoring them.

“We are often the first responder to an adolescent who’s struggling with a mental health issue,” Jesus explained. “If we can make the first exposure a positive experience, they may be more inclined to accept other services that can help them. And that doesn’t only mean Catholic Charities. We want to refer them to the best resource for their needs. Every month, we have outside agencies speak to our team so we can learn about what they offer, and then we can refer appropriately.”

Wenatchee’s Youth Mobile Crisis  Response Team Expands Help and Hope

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