Longtime advocate for the homeless will manage 24/7 emergency psychiatric service
Jonathan Ward, a longtime advocate for the homeless population in the District, was appointed the new Director of Mobile Crisis Services in the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health emergency psychiatric services program. In this position, Mr. Ward supervises mobile crisis services teams who travel directly to people facing a mental health crisis in the home or the community to provide immediate help.
Mr. Ward has extensive experience working with the homeless and individuals in need. He most recently was clinical director of outreach for Pathways to Housing where he supervised a clinical outreach team and coordinated services such as job readiness, mental health treatment, and housing and rental assistance. He was instrumental in decreasing the number of unsheltered, homeless people in the downtown business improvement district by 80% over the past eight years.
The Department of Mental Health mobile crisis services operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When a mobile crisis services team arrives on the scene, mental health specialists conduct a psychiatric assessment and help stabilize the person. If necessary, the team will accompany the person to a community hospital emergency room or to the Mental Health department emergency psychiatric clinic for further treatment. The team also refers individuals to appropriate community mental health providers and will follow-up to make sure referrals or appointments are kept.
“It’s important to get treatment and support to a person experiencing a mental health crisis as quickly as soon as possible,” said Cynthia Holloway, director of crisis and emergency services. “Jonathan brings exactly the kind of experience and dedication required to manage this critical service.”
A District resident, Mr. Ward received a Master of Social Work from Howard University and is a licensed independent clinical social worker. He previously served as assistant director of the Catonsville Guide Structured Shelter in Baltimore, Maryland where he worked with juveniles at risk for involvement with the criminal justice system. Mr. Ward begins his new position on Monday, March 26, 2012.
Mobile crisis services teams are dispatched by calls to (202) 673-9300 or to the Department of Mental Health helpline (1-888-793-4357).