Detroit Wayne, police team up to fix ‘damaged’ mental health response

“It was good because DPD prides itself on serving the community and we’re trying to work really hard to fill the gap and help our most vulnerable populations,” said Leonard-Gilbert. “To date, we have received very good feedback, very, very positive feedback from the community and from the members who have been (Crisis Intervention Team) trained.”

Doeh said DWIHN has always provided training for crisis intervention teams at DPD and other police agencies through existing grants. Every year around 300 DPD officers undergo mental health first aid and QPR (question, persuade, refer) training on suicide prevention, he said.

In the next year, at least 20 percent of the DPD officers who respond will have the skills of a crisis intervention team.

“These efforts should reduce the overall cost of incarceration and hospitalization and provide better treatment options for the people we serve,” Doeh said. “Rerouting prisons and contacting the homeless leads to links to treatment. This pilot is more than just an education, it’s a culture and community shift that bridges the gap between law enforcement and behavioral health.”

The total cost of the Mental Health Diversion Pilot Program for the first year is $ 2.46 million. Financing comes from existing grants from DWIHN and the City of Detroit. For example, the crisis intervention program will cost $ 1.2 million, the 911 response will cost $ 742,000, and the homeless assistance program will cost $ 315,000.

“When we decided to form this partnership, we knew that additional dollars would be needed to expand the program,” Doeh said in the sophomore year, adding that grants and private donations are being sought.

In addition to crisis intervention training and co-response teams, DWIHN and DPD also work with the Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department. The aim is to connect the homeless with mental health services and offer temporary or permanent housing.

Leonard-Gilbert said the partnership is preparing to launch the homeless assistance program. She said a proposal was before the city council for approval.

Meanwhile, Leonard-Gilbert gave an example of how a co-response team worked to find a homeless shelter for young women and health services.

“A few weeks ago, in Ward 9, when it was very cold, 911 received a call from a young lady who was sleeping in a locker with no heating,” she said. “(An officer) with a behavioral medicine practitioner responded and was able to get her to the hospital and back home by ambulance.”

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