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Care response current events

There's tons of discussion happening around care response in northeast ohio. Find some of the coverage below!

September 15, 2023

ADAMHS Board working with FrontLine on non-police response pilot program

The Cuyahoga County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board is working on a non-police crisis response program, but mental health advocates feel left out of the process.  

The ADAMHS Board is working with FrontLine, a community behavioral health center serving the county, to create a non-police crisis response — also called care response. 

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September 12, 2023

Specially trained police officers responding to more crisis calls

Mullin said between October and December of 2020, when the specialized CIT program started, the Cleveland Division of Police had specialized CIT officers at 9.43% of crisis calls. That percentage increased to 17.04% in 2021 and to 31.75% in 2022....

The Cleveland Division of Police has 499 patrol officers immediately responding to 911 calls. When available, one of the 90 specialized CIT officers can also respond if it’s a mental health crisis call. 

The division has 113 officers who have gone through the training. Of those, 23 have chosen not to be designated, Mullin said. 

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September 4, 2023

Non-police care response supporters launch Care for CLE coalition

A care response program would have behavioral health providers, often social workers, as the first to respond to behavioral health crises in the community. 

The coalition brings together supporters from almost two dozen organizations, creating a central space to plan for a care response program. 

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August 28, 2023

Many big US cities now answer mental health crisis calls with civilian teams — not police

Data gathered by The Associated Press show at least 14 of the 20 most populous U.S. cities are hosting or starting such programs, sometimes called civilian, alternative or non-police response teams. They span from New York and Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio, and Houston, and boast annual budgets that together topped $123 million as of June, The AP found. Funding sources vary.

“If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, law enforcement is not what they need,” said Tamara Lynn of the National De-Escalation Training Center, a private group that trains police to handle such situations.

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August 27, 2023

Embracing ‘care response’ in Cuyahoga County to transform mental health crisis intervention

Care response is part of a comprehensive community crisis care system, that includes “hotline” services (988), community response, and facility-based care. Care response provides expert clinical assessment, mental health crisis care, linkage to services and shelter, frequently resolving crises in the community without transfer to crisis facilities or hospitals. Care-response services have shown impressive results, including reduced need for police response, reduced crime in the areas covered by “care response,” and improved safety for all involved.

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May 25, 2023

Cuyahoga County could save millions through non-police response to mental health crisis calls, new report says

In care response, behavioral health providers, often social workers, are the first to respond to behavioral health crises in the community. 

In most existing programs, the team is made up of a licensed behavioral health professional and a peer support specialist, or someone with lived experience with mental health or substance use disorder who has been through training and certification. Some teams also include an emergency medical technician.  

The team tries to resolve a crisis on site whenever possible, Hurst said. 

“They often occur in a context of unemployment, of homelessness, and of hunger, of other kinds of things that contribute to the crisis itself,” he explained. “And resolving and dealing with some of those things is every bit of support as doing a psychiatric or behavioral health assessment.” 

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May 21, 2023

Care response is the right tool for the job: Elaine Schleiffer and Bree Easterling


We don’t call the police when someone is having a heart attack, so why should we have to call law enforcement for a loved one experiencing a mental health crisis?

That’s the question advocates are asking as mental and behavioral health crises rise across Northeast Ohio.

A complete continuum of crisis services must include three types of response: “cop response” by officers trained in crisis intervention, such as specialized Crisis Intervention officers; “co-response” by police officers who are accompanied by a social worker, paramedic or crisis intervention specialist; and “care response,” when social workers, paramedics and crisis interventionists respond without a police presence.

All three types of crisis response are necessary for a complete toolbox of crisis services.

Today, Northeast Ohio’s continuum of crisis services is a two-legged stool. The overwhelming majority of crisis calls are responded to by police officers, only some of whom are trained in crisis intervention.

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April 20, 2023

Baerga v. City of New York

On April 20, the plaintiffs in the federal class action lawsuit challenging New York City’s use of police as first responders for people experiencing mental health crises filed an Amended Complaint, describing the additional legal violations presented by Mayor Eric Adam’s November 29, 2022 policy, which establishes a lower standard by which the police are to determine whether to involuntarily remove people to hospitals for psychiatric evaluation....

The plaintiffs seek to replace the police with teams of trained peers (those with lived mental health experience) and healthcare providers who can help those in need and eliminate the violence and trauma caused by police responders.

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April 18, 2023

Cleveland turns to other cities to learn more about non-police crisis response


As organizers and city officials work toward creating a non-police emergency response program in Cleveland, they’re learning from established programs in other cities and applying for grants to fund a program locally.
Cleveland city officials and a coalition of local organizers last week heard from representatives from St. Petersburg, Fla., about their Community Assistance and Life Liaison (CALL) program – where social workers respond to crisis calls without police.
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March 21, 2023

Shaker’s pilot Mental Health Response Program gets a look from new county executive

Ronayne attended the March 13 Shaker Heights City Council work session, where a program update was provided by social worker and clinician Annette Amistadi. She has been working full-time with city first responders since November.
“Just reviewing the numbers, it looks to me like you’re saving lives,” Ronayne told Amistadi, noting that he planned to hire a new sheriff in a matter of weeks.

“I’ve seen an opportunity to scale this program to de-escalate situations and find a way to get this further presented to our partners in the county, like the chiefs’ associations.”

[Amistadi] added that one of the goals of having a social worker on board -- as well as an intern starting in May -- is to provide outreach, intervention and prevention of return visits by patients, with other referrals considered.

It’s a far cry from previous responses, Shaker Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney told council.

He noted that while his department is well-trained in lifesaving skills, they have have “minimal training in behavioral health issues.” This used to lead to often “cyclical” trips to area emergency rooms for ongoing problems that weren’t being addressed -- at least until the arrival of Amistadi, MetroHealth and another partner, Recovery Resources.

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February 8, 2023

Make our streets less dangerous by making mental health part of police response

Then-Police Chief Jeff DeMuth, who retired at the end of last year, told 3News a year ago that Shaker Heights has seen a rise in mental health-related calls and that police officers, “are not trained to be social workers. They get just a very basic amount of training in regards to responding to mental health type calls.”

Around the country, dispatching officers to handle situations for which they are ill-prepared has resulted in the death of innocent people and can cost taxpayers millions of dollars, The Atlantic magazine reports.

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February 4, 2023

Sending Help Instead of the Police in Albuquerque

Albuquerque Community Safety has fifty-four full-time crisis responders, who now field most of the calls related to mental-health and homelessness that previously would have gone to police officers or other first responders. The department was created in 2020, during the national reckoning over police violence sparked by the killing of George Floyd, and began operating a year later.

Between a quarter and a half of people killed by police in the U.S. are in the midst of a mental-health crisis. Removing cops from such situations has special significance in Albuquerque, where a pattern of excessive force by police officers, particularly in dealing with people with mental illness, has persisted for decades. The Albuquerque Police Department has been in a consent decree with the Department of Justice since 2014, longer than nearly any other law-enforcement agency.

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January 25, 2023

Don’t send those in need of addiction and mental health treatment to jail

We are at a crossroads of opportunity in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Continue forward on the same path? Continue to fail our residents. Let’s instead empower our new County Executive Chris Ronayne to make our communities safer, save money, and provide our residents appropriate care.

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November 18, 2022

Here's how crisis response is changing in Cleveland


Cleveland City Council voted last week to expand the city’s police co-response program, which would double the amount of teams going out to mental health crisis calls. 

The existing co-response pilot program, which launched in January 2020, includes five teams made up of one police officer specially trained in crisis intervention and a mental health case worker. They respond to or follow up on emergency mental health crisis calls. 

Community leaders are also pushing for the city to add another mental health crisis response program – one that wouldn’t involve police at all. 

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November 9, 2022

Cleveland needs to move to care response model for emergency crisis calls: Joan Englund

Cleveland police continue to face problems reaching staffing goals. Care response, proven effective elsewhere, would allow the officers we have to focus on crime.

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November 1, 2022

Numbers show how seldom police have utilized Cuyahoga County Diversion Center

Cuyahoga County Council is considering a move to invest $4.3 million to keep the Diversion Center open for another year, which would offer police an option to help offenders avoid a jail cell.

But law enforcement hasn’t been using the facility much since it opened on East 55th Street in Cleveland in May 2021.

Police have only made about a quarter of the referrals, or 141 of the 545 people who have obtained treatment there through Sept. 6. The others walked in on their own or were referred there by friends or family members, according to Allyse Hawkins, clinical director of the Oriana House Inc., which operates the facility with the county’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

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October 29, 2022

Supporting Cuyahoga County with a diverse behavioral health care workforce

During the prolonged times of isolation and stress, many people started to realize mental health was something that needed to be prioritized at the community level. However, like other areas in the healthcare industry, the behavioral health care workforce has been struggling to keep up with the population’s needs.

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October 24, 2022

Survey shows need for "care response" for Clevelanders experiencing crisis

Today, Policy Matters Ohio and REACH NEO released findings from a survey of Clevelanders directly impacted by policing and emergency response. The survey paints a complex picture of what happens when first responders show up on emergency calls for people in crisis, including those experiencing mental and behavioral health issues, homelessness, substance use and withdrawal.

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October 18, 2022

Non-police care response: a step toward transformative justice

Local advocates and service providers are calling on the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to implement non-police care response that would send emergency medical technicians, social workers, mental health clinicians or trained peers with lived experience to provide support and compassion.

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October 12, 2022

ADAMHS Board grants $4.4 million to keep St. Vincent psychiatric emergency department open in 2023

Without the funding, St. Vincent’s psychiatric emergency department-- the only emergency department specifically for patients having mental health crises in Cuyahoga County — would have closed in November, when the hospital ends inpatient, surgical and emergency room care.

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August 30, 2022

Experts Say Adopting a 'Care Response' Model for Non-violent Emergency Calls Would Benefit Cleveland Residents, Police and Bottom Line

The City of Cleveland should immediately begin to scale up a mobile crisis response pilot program that reduces reliance on police for those experiencing mental or behavioral health challenges, according to a new report published by Policy Matters Ohio, the Center for Community Solutions and the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC). 

Known as "care response," unarmed models for responding to non-violent calls that prioritize the health of the person experiencing a crisis have led to enormous cost savings for the cities that deploy them.  Moreover, they result in fewer deadly interactions with law enforcement. The report notes that police across the United States shot and killed more than 1,000 people in 2021 and are on track to do the same in 2022. At least one in four people killed by police has a severe mental illness.

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August 29, 2022

Cleveland advocates make the case for non-police response to mental health crisis calls

Every Cleveland Division of Police officer gets yearly training. Some years it’s on suicide prevention or responding to calls about homeless people or other training that falls under the category of crisis intervention.

Some officers volunteer for more extensive training and become specialized Crisis Intervention officers. But the department has fallen far short of finding enough officers to fill that role. 

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July 27, 2022

How the 988 national mental health crisis helpline works in Northeast Ohio

The United States has launched a new national suicide and crisis hotline, 9-8-8. The new three-digit number is being used in place of the old 1-800 number. This number is easier to remember, and centralizes where people can call for help. It also aims to make mental health care more accessible to everyone in the United States.

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February 23, 2022

Why police are the wrong first responders for a mental health crisis: Leslie Kouba

For those in mental or behavioral health crises, blaring sirens and uniformed officers can escalate the situation. Being put in a cruiser for transport to an emergency room can push a person over their edge, and what started out as assistance devolves into dangerous restraint, alarming arrest, humiliating handcuffs or worse. Tanisha Anderson comes to mind. In 2014, Anderson’s family called Cleveland police to help her during a mental-health episode. She ended up handcuffed and slammed to the ground, where she died.

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February 11, 2022

Cleveland needs a ‘care response’ to those in mental health crisis

With support from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board, Cleveland can join communities across the country in implementing a health-first crisis response model that recognizes mental health crises as health emergencies requiring medical attention.

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February 4, 2022

Peer support: how ordinary Ohioans are helping others break mental health barriers

Thrive employs peer supporters to help people reduce social isolation and address their mental health needs as the foundation necessary to recover their economic and personal health.

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January 14, 2022

Mayor Justin M. Bibb Reverses Prior Roadblocks to Expand use of Diversion Center from Cleveland City Hall

Mayor Justin M. Bibb announced a plan to expand the use of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Diversion Center for non-violent offenders and to refocus City resources to fight violent crime.  

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November 15, 2021

We need a communitywide solution for improved behavioral health, addiction services, by Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO of MetroHealth

No one who works in this area believes that the current system (1) receives adequate funding, (2) is sufficiently seamless for the clients, (3) helps all who need help, or (4) has no room to improve outcomes.

To change that, we must revisit the framework that experts from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board, Center for Community Solutions, Frontline Service, Greater Cleveland Congregations, Mental Health & Addiction Coalition, The MetroHealth System, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Recovery Resources, Stella Maris, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, and United Way of Greater Cleveland developed over 20 months ago.

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November 14, 2021

Use ‘health-first’ approach for those in mental health crisis

Cuyahoga County Council President Pernel Jones Jr. and Lori D'Angelo, executive director of Magnolia House, call for a "care response" model for those in mental health crisis.

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April 27, 2021

Shaker coalition asks city to drop police from pilot mental health response program

A group of 20 residents has asked the city to rethink its pilot program for mental health crisis response in order to eliminate police involvement.

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