Local crisis support expert attends ‘State of the Union’

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 2:58 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -“It was just such an honor,” says Rachelle Pellissier of being a guest at last week’s “State of the Union” Address.

She came by invitation of Nevada’s Senior Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

Before taking a seat in the House Gallery though, Pellissier says she talked to the senator and her staff about the new 988, why it is a success and how it could be even more successful.

“The system isn’t just a place to call,” says Pellissier. “It isn’t just 988. The system that we are developing also includes mobile teams to go out to you no matter where you are. Whether it is at your home, a park, whether it is unfortunately at the top of a building. Have a mobile team with a clinician and a peer come out to you and serve you. There are also what we call crisis stabilization centers.”

“Let’s do more on mental health especially for our children,” President Biden said during his speech.

Pellissier says she liked the fact the President took time to address mental health, as well as Veteran suicide.

“We were losing up to 25 Veterans a day to suicide. Now we are losing 17 a day to the silent scourge of suicide. 17 Veterans a day are committing suicide. More than all the people being killed in the wars,” said President Biden of the sobering numbers.

She says since COVID this country has bridged a major gap between even talking about mental health to what can be done to treat it.

“The system is being built as we speak right now,” says Pellissier. “The first step was getting an easy phone number to call. We continue at both a national level and a state level to build the other parts of a full-on crisis response system.”