Rights and Legal Issues

Persons Experiencing Psychiatric Crises: Information for Emergency Department Staff and Others Regarding Available Resources, Protocols, and Requirements

How Could A Peer Support Worker Be Helpful to Emergency Department Staff When An Individual Comes to an ED in Psychiatric Crisis?

The Adult Mental Health Services currently funds Peer Support Services in Emergency Departments at Maine Medical Center and Mid Coast Hospital, with plans to expand peer services in community hospital EDs.

The Peer Support Specialist's role in the ED is to support the individual experiencing a mental health crisis in their efforts to resolve the crisis situation; to assist the individual to view the crisis as an opportunity for growth and change; and to consider ways for the individual to manage future crises ideally within the community rather than in a hospital or other crisis setting.

The Peer Support Specialist's role is not to perform crisis assessments or to serve as an advocate for a particular clinical disposition, though he or she may be called upon by ED or crisis staff to provide input on disposition options.

The long-term goal of Peer Support Services in EDs is to help people learn how to live with increased distress; and to potentially decrease the number of psychiatric hospitalizations by educating people about natural supports within their own communities.