ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Renee Brean with Rochester’s Person in Crisis team just got off two emotional back to back calls last week. When News 8 came through the door, her spirits lifted, taken by total surprise as she was given the First Responders Spotlight award.

“We respond to mental health calls in the City of Rochester, sometimes with the police, sometimes without the police,” she says.

Her co-workers say Brean has changed the lives of countless people — she says no shift is the same. “We really see people sometimes at their worst day. From kids who are in crisis in schools, to folks that are homeless, to folks who have a serious and persistent mental illness,” she says.

Her co-worker Dre Johnson, nominated Brean for the award. “We are more than just colleagues, she is a friend. I always say, ‘if I was in a bad place and I had one phone call to make, I’m calling Renee Brean,'” Johnson said.

Johnson said in the nomination form Brean has helped many out of the cold and into warm places, aided women and children from battered homes to safety, and helped those struggling with addiction to get the care they needed.

Alia-Henton Williams leads the group; she says Brean is a pillar for the team. “I know that Renee is always going to take an extra step for people,” Williams said.

Brean says everyone in this room leans on one another for support. “After we go on a tough call, just having a few minutes to debrief with each other. Just sometimes we talk about the news, the weather.”

Brean says being a part of the PIC Team is the reason she got into social work in the first place. “The privilege of being able to help someone else is really just an honor every day,” she said.

The PIC Team launched its pilot program in January 2021. On March 14, 2021 the PIC Team added a co-dispatch response to all mental health-related calls where the team is simultaneously dispatched with all other resources (RPD, EMS, Fire).  

The First Responders Spotlight series is brought to you by Bill Gray’s.

Official Expansion of “Persons in Crisis Team”