This document reviews the available research on implementation and impact of mobile crisis teams, which aim to mitigate pressure on the mental health system by reducing unnecessary emergency department visits and hospital admissions, and facilitating individuals’ connection to services.
This research review examines the implementation and impact of mobile crisis teams (MCTs), also known as mobile crisis units or in-home crisis services. The document is organized in four main sections: the first describes the implementation of the MCT model; the second section outlines the research on the impact of mobile crisis teams on increasing connection to services, reducing pressure on the mental health system, and promoting cost effectiveness; the third section describes stakeholders’ perceptions of MCTs, including benefits and challenges; and the last section provides an overall discussion of available research, and implications for research and practices. The MCTs operate within the mental health system with the goal of relieving pressure on the mental health system and facilitate individuals’ connections to services, they were created to provide immediate crisis assessment and intervention services in the community to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The document concludes that existing research suggests the MCT model is a promising approach to achieve this goal, and the limited research on stakeholder perceptions suggests that stakeholders such as service providers, police, and patients, view the MCT model positively, with high rates of overall satisfaction. One common complaint that was recorded, was the existence of a significant wait time for MCT services, and that there appeared to be significant variations across models in terms of programmatic elements such as staffing and availability, populations served, and main referral sources, so drawing broad conclusions with the limited available research is difficult.