Editor’s Note: This post is part two of our three part series looking at the emerging trends in emergency psychiatry. Part one looked at Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs (CPEP). Next week will focus on educational opportunities for emergency department staff members.To hear about new blog posts, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn. Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs (CPEP) provide care to individuals undergoing a psychiatric crisis, but what about people who cannot get to a CPEP? That’s where mobile crisis units come in. Mobile crisis units provide emergency psychiatric services to individuals who are not willing or able to travel to receive proper treatment. They deploy into the community to perform assessments and in some cases administer medications to individuals undergoing a psychiatric crisis. In many cases, mobile emergency psychiatric teams get a majority of referrals from law enforcement, says Dr. Scott Zeller, Chief of Psychiatric Emergency Services at Alameda County Medical Center and president of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry (AAEP). For example, police respond to a 911 call about a disturbance. After assessing the situation, officers determine that the individual stopped taking prescribed medication and became paranoid. Police then call the mobile crisis team to come to the scene and handle the situation. Upon their arrival, the police are often free leave and attend to other calls. According to Dr. Zeller, mobile teams can be extremely helpful in reducing the number of patients that come to the emergency department (ED) or CPEP. Mobile teams are also used to check up on patients who were recently discharged from the hospital, making sure individuals are sticking to their medication regimen and going to appointments. Telepsychiatry Many rural mental health providers who lack the resources to support an onsite emergency psychiatrist are turning to telepsychiatry. This option allows a psychiatrist to communicate with individuals via a secure webcam link, rather than in person. Burke Center, a mental health center in rural Texas, uses telepyschiatry to care for its patients. Within 30 minutes of arrival at Burke Center, the patient is scheduled to see a psychiatrist via videoconferencing regardless of the hour or day of the week. Some facilities have created a separate unit that houses multiple patients that use telepsychiatry for treatment. Other organizations that cannot afford to create a new unit simply use telepsychiatry technology within the medical ED. The method works well, according to Dr. Zeller. Initially there was concern that patients would not respond well to speaking with a psychiatrist that appears on a monitor. However, many facilities have actually found patients to be more forthcoming than they would in a face-to-face setting, Dr. Zeller says. Mobile crisis units and telepsychiatry technology are just two examples of the innovative strategies providers are using to treat psychiatric patients more effectively and efficiently while freeing up valuable resources in the medical ED. About Barton Associates Established in 2001, Barton Associates is a leading national locum tenens staffing company serving psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychiatry practices across the U.S. from staffing offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. Learn more about Barton’s psychiatrist and psychiatry nurse practitioner staffing solutions and available psychiatry jobs at http://126.96.36.199. Barton’s medical specialties include Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Hospitalist, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Radiology, Surgery, and many more.