Triage counselors handle the initial calls 24/7 through a hotline for their region of Tennessee and determine an appropriate response.
For example, the triage specialist might answer a call from a school official who reports that one of her students is expressing thoughts of suicide. The specialist speaks with the caller to determine if the child has a plan and any means to harm herself (along with further detail of the situation) to determine the appropriate response to the crisis call.
After further investigation, the triage specialist determines the situation warrants dispatching a crisis responder to the scene to intervene in the crisis, get more details and arrange appropriate services and safety plans.
Through meetings with the child and school officials, the crisis responder learns the child’s suicidal ideation is partially related to being bullied at school.
In this example, the crisis responder would stay with the family for the duration of the crisis, focusing on de-escalating the situation and thoroughly assessing the child’s history, factors that may have influenced the crisis and how future crises can be avoided.
She would meet with the child’s teachers to get a better understanding of the triggers that led to the crisis and assist the child’s family with safety planning based on that child’s individual needs.
If the counselor determines that psychiatric hospitalization is most appropriate, she would assist the parents in making a hospitalization referral and coordinating transportation to the hospital.
If psychiatric hospitalization is not recommended, she would assist the family in arranging for appropriate services, which may include Continuous Treatment Team (CTT), Comprehensive Child and Family Treatment (CCFT), case management, outpatient therapy, group counseling, alcohol and drug counseling or psychiatric services.
When services are not immediately available, she would continue to provide therapeutic intervention to the family until the follow-up services begin.