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Tillamook Family Counseling Center Provides 24/7 Crisis Support in Tillamook County

The Crisis Program at Tillamook Family Counseling Center (TFCC) has been serving the community for over 20 years, offering comprehensive crisis intervention and support services around the clock to individuals facing mental health challenges. “Our main goal is to keep people safe and in the community whenever possible,” explains John Holland, Crisis Services Program Manager at TFCC. “We work closely with the local hospitals, law enforcement, schools and other partners to provide timely evaluations and connect individuals with the resources they need.” In 2023, TFCC Crisis served 248 clients and so far in 2024, 72 clients.

About the Team

The dedicated Crisis Team is made up of qualified mental health professionals and peer support specialists with diverse expertise in 24/7 crisis response, evaluations, safety planning, counseling, case management, family support, and connecting clients to ongoing treatment and resources. The team includes Program Manager John Holland, Peer Support Specialist Doug Beeler, Crisis Intervention Specialist Michael McRoberts, and Crisis Clinicians Lacey Hawkins and Mary Lindsey as the night/weekend crisis responders. Currently, TFCC is expanding its mobile crisis response capabilities training more staff members to meet the increasing demand for crisis interventions.

Members of the crisis team

Goals and Objectives

When a crisis call comes in, the team triages the situation over the phone and quickly deploys staff to intervene in-person if needed. This could involve going to a home, school, hospital or other location to de-escalate the crisis and conduct an evaluation. The team’s average response time is just 19 minutes.

“A big part of what we do is active safety planning and teaching coping skills,” says Holland. “Follow-up check-ins and peer support also help people stay engaged and avoid returning to crisis.”

 

In addition to immediate interventions, the Crisis Team facilitates connections to ongoing support like counseling, psychiatric care, support groups and community resources. A major focus is reducing barriers to treatment access.”We have great partnerships with local providers like Adventist Health, the County Health Department and others,” notes Holland. “If there are delays getting into treatment programs, we’ll do whatever we can to support the person in the interim.” For youth ages 11-34, TFCC can rapidly get them set up with the online Charlie Health platform for counseling, psychiatric care and peer support groups.

The crisis team has cultivated a strong, collaborative partnership with law enforcement agencies throughout Tillamook County as well. The local police departments reach out and involve the TFCC mobile crisis team as needed and prioritize de-escalation when responding to mental health emergencies. Holland cites a situation from last year where a police officer responded to a person undergoing a mental health crisis who disclosed having a firearm. The officer said, “If you don’t reach for yours, I won’t reach for mine.” With help from the officer and TFCC Crisis Team, the individual survived and was able to get inpatient care. This team approach ensures the safest resolutions. “The Police and sheriff department do a fantastic job at reaching out to the crisis team. We are very proud to work with them,” shared Holland.

2023 Crisis Team Stats

State Challenges

One of the biggest challenges for crisis services is the severe lack of inpatient psychiatric beds available across Oregon for both youth and adults in crisis. Holland acknowledges this is not a unique issue to Tillamook County, but rather a systemic problem statewide. For youth requiring inpatient psychiatric care, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days to get a bed, with only two facilities in the state able to admit adolescents. 

The inpatient bed shortage also greatly impacts adults in crisis. Holland recalls a recent incident where a patient was about to be transported for admission, but the facility had to turn them away at the last minute due to not having adequate staffing that night. With few inpatient options and capacity limitations, these difficult situations occur too frequently.

Despite this challenge, the TFCC crisis team remains persistent and resourceful in getting clients the highest level of care possible through creative solutions and strong community collaboration.

Future Initiatives

Looking to the future, the state of Oregon is exploring new models to improve crisis response and stabilization. According to Holland, the state is really pushing for every county to have some type of crisis “drop-in” or stabilization center by 2025. The idea is to have a place where individuals can go for an evaluation, observation and stabilization. The state currently has pilot programs testing this model underway in three counties. If successful, these crisis stabilization units could be replicated in counties across Oregon, including potentially in Tillamook.

Accessing Services

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can access TFCC’s Crisis Program 24/7 simply by calling the main number at (503) 842-8201 and selecting 0 to connect with the main office. From there, let the person know that you need the crisis team and you will be connected to them immediately. Even if you’re not in an immediate crisis but need advice on how to support someone who may be struggling, you can call the crisis team for guidance and information on available resources.

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