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Rather than referring someone in the midst of a mental health crisis to the emergency room or to law enforcement, individuals can be deflected to triage services, embedded mobile crisis units, or a peer specialist. If alternatives are not available, emergency room visits provide an opportunity to identify and refer individuals to mental health treatment and services. Screeners and targeted questioning can help identify underlying mental and behavioral health needs even if not the presenting reason for the emergency room visit. Proper training for professionals and hospital staff is key at this intercept, and care must be taken to not “board” people with behavioral health needs in emergency rooms while waiting for other service connections to be made.

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