Guests: Brenton Gicker & Chelsea Swift
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
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Transcription services provided by FIU’s Disability Resource Center
In this episode, I talk with Brenton Gicker and Chelsea Swift of CAHOOTS – Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, a 24/7 mobile crisis intervention program of the White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon. CAHOOTS, which pairs a mental health crisis worker and a medic in a big white van, has been receiving national attention as a model for a crisis response alternative to the police or fire department. Chelsea and Brenton share what a typical shift is like for them and how 911 calls are routed to them rather than the police for certain situations. We discuss the cost-effective approach of CAHOOTS as well as the humanitarian benefits, such as de-escalation and fewer arrests, by utilizing the skills of medical and mental health professionals rather than the police. Brenton and Chelsea both share how they got into this work, and how they began as crisis workers and then each decided to become medics, Brenton a registered nurse, and Chelsea an emergency medical technician. I hope this conversation inspires you to action.