“It’s been good because DPD takes pride in serving the community and we’re really trying to work hard to bridge the gap and help our most vulnerable populations,” Leonard-Gilbert said. “As of today, we’ve had very good feedback, very, very positive reception from the community so far, as well as with the members who are (Crisis Intervention Team) trained.”
Doeh said DWIHN has always offered crisis intervention team training with DPD and other police agencies through existing grants. Each year, some 300 DPD officers go through mental health first aid and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training, he said.
Over the next year, at least 20 percent of DPD’s responding officers will be certified in crisis intervention team skills.
“These efforts should reduce overall incarceration and hospitalization costs and provide better treatment options to the people we serve,” Doeh said. “Jail diversion and homeless outreach lead to connections to treatment. This pilot is more than just training, it is a culture and community shift that bridges the gap between the law enforcement and behavioral health sectors.”
Costs for the mental health diversion pilot program for the first year will total $2.46 million. Funding comes from DWIHN’s existing grants and the city of Detroit. For example, the crisis intervention program will cost $1.2 million, 911 response $742,000 and the homeless outreach $315,000.
“When we decided to form this partnership, we knew additional dollars will be needed to expand the program” in year two, said Doeh, adding that grants and private donations will be sought.
Besides crisis intervention training and the co-response teams, DWIHN and DPD also are working with Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department. The goal is to connect homeless people with mental health services and offering temporary or permanent housing.
Leonard-Gilbert said the partnership is getting ready to launch the homeless outreach program. She said a proposal is before the City Council for approval.
Meanwhile, Leonard-Gilbert gave an example of how a co-response team worked to find a homeless young lady shelter and health care services.
“A few weeks ago in the 9th Precinct, when it was very cold, 911 got a call about a young lady who was sleeping in a storage locker with no heat,” she said. “(An officer) with a behavioral health specialist responded and were able to get her transported by EMS to the hospital for services and back to home.”