By Lauren Reimer
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)
At the scene of a police-involved shooting, one vehicle stands out from the others.
From the outside, it looks like a motor home. But on the inside, it is a brand new “tragedy response vehicle” called “Centerpoint for Hope.”
“We have a satellite TV so they can just relax, have a calming environment, get a cup of coffee, a snack and just begin the decompressing process,” said Justin Chase, president and CEO of the Crisis Response Network.
The blue and black vehicle, created by the Crisis Response Network, is a first of its kind in the country.
Once on the scene of a traumatic event, it partners with local mental health care agencies, bringing on board professionals to help victims, their families and first responders. After receiving assistance on the scene, patients are sent home with the information they need to continue their care.
The idea was born after the 2011 Tucson mass shooting.
Chase says survivors of traumatic incidents don’t get the emotional and mental support they need, leading to lifelong anxiety, depression and PTSD.
“A lot of times individuals just have to wait. They kind of linger there,” said Chase. “And so we feel, the gap is, these people really need to talk to somebody.”
Right now, the Phoenix Police Department is helping test it out, letting the Crisis Response Network bring the vehicle to all of the department’s “critical incidents.”
“It allows us to test our response times, the capabilities, how the generators work and the air conditioning,” said Chase.
When that pilot program is over at the end of the month, the vehicle will go into service, ready to deploy to traumatic events all over Arizona and beyond.
“The best way that we can address trauma after an event is to provide as quick of service on scene, wherever the individuals are as soon as possible,” said Chase.
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