SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – MetroHealth’s expansion into the heights will now continue in the field, after Shaker Heights city council on Monday, September 27 approved a pilot crisis response program that will add a social worker to full time at the police department.
The new mental health intervention program is expected to be up and running early next year, putting social workers and clinicians in the trenches with a one-year $ 94,500 contract to sign with Recovery Resources, a subsidiary of MetroHealth in recent years.
At the same time, police and firefighters also receive free training on Crisis Intervention Teams (CRTs) through the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Cuyahoga County Council.
To date, 17 police officers and four firefighters have completed the 40-hour ADAMHS training or refresher training.
“In 2020, the arrival of a global COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and issues of social justice and police reform have caused the city to focus more on police policy and the services provided by the city, ”said a spouse memo to the board said.
This led to a series of “community conversations” on law enforcement policies that included the use of force, duty to intervene and impartial policing.
In addition, the administration, Police Chief Jeffrey DeMuth and Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney had already started researching and discussing how best to deal with the growing trend in the number of unplanned calls. urgent calls to 911 who would be better served by referrals. social or mental health services, ”officials noted.
From there, the council suggested creating a non-police response to some of the crisis-related calls “to keep our community safe while avoiding circumstances that could lead to an escalation or the use of force.” unnecessary, as is the case in other communities across the country ”. the memo added.
Council also added $ 100,000 to 2021 budget talks last fall and appointed Deputy Mayor Tres Roeder and City Councilor Anne Williams as legislative liaison officers.
Other research indicated that the city received an average of 1.2 “crisis-related” calls per day that were caused by mental health issues, homelessness, drug addiction, suicide threats or drug addiction.
There are also “911 dispatch entry situations that might otherwise be a non-emergency call, such as disruption, family argument, argument between neighbors, noise complaints, a suspicious person, trespassing, or property. be personal ”.
Prior to the additional training, these were calls where the police or fire department simply dropped people off at local hospitals.
This approach will change, noted Mike Tobin, vice president of communications, government and community relations at MetroHealth.
“We are looking forward to working with the city on this topic, not because it is a generator of money for us, but because there is a need,” said Tobin.
MetroHealth is already building a 110-bed behavioral health and addictions services wing at its Cleveland Heights Medical Center, which also houses the Heights-Hillcrest Communication Center for emergency services, which will soon be merged with Chagrin Valley Dispatch.
Tobin also praised DeMuth and Sweeney for choosing ADAMHS training for their first responders.
Recovery Resources CEO and President Pam Gill called the city’s initiative “remarkably forward-thinking in taking a preventive front” in providing this type of response in justified situations.
Recovery Resources is a non-profit organization that has provided mental health and addiction services in Cuyahoga County since 1955.
In 2018, it was acquired by MetroHealth System, allowing the two entities to collaborate on behavioral health and primary care using a fully integrated health record.
And with the opportunity to work with Shaker Heights, Gill added, “We see this as a ‘pilot’, but not just a research study. And it’s exciting to think of other communities joining us as well.
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