top of page



R. Joseph Mella 

LCSW Licensed Clinical Supervisor

Program Director | Rapid Response Team Assessor 

Child Guidance Center

Click here to view an Interview with Licensed Clinical Supervisor Joe Mella and find answers for the below questions:


Please tell me a little bit more about yourself like your educational background, job titles, the different roles you currently have, and how long you have been doing this.

Do you and your team have any specific risk evaluation procedures or assessments that you conduct to determine the person’s risk to themself and others?

A risk assessment or evaluation usually occurs at the point of first contact with a person. If this holds true for crisis responses, how long do these risk evaluations usually take? (Are they more of a quick, on-the-spot thing to determine an immediate course of action, or are they a longer process to determine a more long-term, thorough plan?)


Since your work involves handling children, including children in foster care, who may have heightened sensitivity to certain situations and a less controlled emotional capability, what extra or specific measures are taken in dealing with them? How does an educational background in psychology help prepare you to appropriately deal with these children?


Are there any general steps taken to defuse or calm down a situation in which children with behavioral health issues are in crises? Is this mitigation of the situation done before or after risk evaluation?


Since children often have outbursts or tantrums, or could react in more dramatic ways in a situation of high-pressure such as a crisis response, how do you and your team define the line between a normal emotional reaction and an issue that needs to be addressed?


Does your identification of what is normal or a behavioral health issue come from experience in dealing with multiple cases?

Is this identification of a behavioral health issue something that is ensured by specific measures and procedures set-in-place to prevent confusion with a normal emotional reaction?


After a crisis call, are there health resources and linkages provided to the child?

Do you have any ties or relationships with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office or JSO? Or do you more so act as independent service teams?


What kind of qualifications are needed for a member of or worker associated with a clinical crisis response team? Do they need to have an educational background in psychology or behavioral health?


Police officers typically don’t have an educational background in behavioral health, so to become a member of a Crisis Intervention Team, they undergo a 40-hour training that emphasizes understanding of mental illness and the development of communication skills. In your personal opinion, do you think this is enough training for someone to be adequately prepared to deal with behavioral health cases?


How could a high-pressure scenario or response from people (like police officers) who aren’t mental health experts and thus may not be adequately knowledgeable about the particular behavioral health issue a child has potentially harm the child or escalate the situation?


Are there any specific give-away signs or characteristics that indicate a behavioral health issue in a child?

Since police officers without extensive training in psychology may be called to handle these cases instead of mental health experts, are there any behaviors a person might exhibit that indicate that they need special mental health treatment to prevent escalation of the situation? 


Dealing with intense responses to crises, especially involving children, is stressful and probably mentally taxing for responders themselves. Are there any tools or services or post-crisis debriefing provided to support you guys after a crisis response?

Joe Mella_1.jpg


bottom of page