Mobile Crisis Unit
What is the Mobile Crisis Unit?
The Mobile Crisis Unit (MCU) is an emergency mental health program of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board that provides on-scene evaluation, treatment and crisis intervention in the community.
The MCU specializes in providing these services to individuals who are experiencing a mental health emergency and who need, but are unwilling or unable to seek, mental health treatment.
In many of these situations there is concern that, as a result of a psychiatric condition, the person may be a danger to self or others or may not be caring for self.
While the goal of the MCU is to enlist the individual’s cooperation and develop the least restrictive treatment options, the MCU is authorized to recommend and facilitate involuntary hospitalization and treatment when necessary.
The MCU also specializes in responding to referrals from the Police, Fire and Rescue service, and other public safety agencies on cases where mental health consultation and intervention are needed. In many situations, the MCU is able to assume responsibility for the case; enabling these personnel to quickly clear the scene to resume their other duties.
What Services Does the MCU Provide?
- Psychiatric Crisis – evaluation, intervention and treatment planning, including hospitalization, if needed.
- Involuntary Hospitalization – recommending, obtaining and facilitating the issuance of a Temporary Detention Order.
- Suicide Threat or Attempt – assessment, prevention and intervention with individuals exhibiting suicidal behavior.
- Suicide Survivor – intervention and treatment planning with individuals coping with the completed suicide of a significant other.
- Substance Abuse Crisis – assessment, intervention and treatment planning when imminent danger is the result of, or exacerbated by, alcohol and drug abuse.
- Domestic Disturbance – intervention and mediation of parent/child, marital and other interpersonal conflicts.
- Trauma and Tragic Event – intervention for individuals and groups exposed to emotionally traumatic events such as natural disasters, violent deaths, mass casualty situations, etc.
- Critical Incident Stress – incident debriefings and stress management education for public safety personnel.
Making a Referral to MCU
- The MCU program is located in the Emergency Service at the Merrifield Center. Referrals are accepted from families, individuals, public agencies and private organizations.
- The MCU responds to cases in Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Vienna and Herndon.
- Once contacted, referral information is obtained and a timely response is scheduled. A response by the MCU does not always occur immediately. Referrals are evaluated and triaged according to imminence of risk to life and safety, the specifics of the situation and MCU availability. Priority is given to referrals from the police and other public safety agencies and to cases involving individuals who may be a danger to self or others.
- Police and Fire and Rescue personnel can also send a copy of their completed field or patient care report to make a referral to the MCU.
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request. For information, call 703-324-7000, TTY 711. Please allow two weeks’ notice to arrange ADA accommodations. To request this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-7000, TTY 711.