Grassroots Action Center

Partnerships Between Police and Mental Health Professionals On the Rise
May 12, 2022 by NBCC Government Affairs

In May 2022, plans for a new pilot program to send a mental health professional instead of police officers to some (low-risk) incidents was announced in Cincinnati, Ohio. Similar programs aimed at reforming police departments in the wake of the 2020 protests prompted by the death of George Floyd have been on the rise as communities respond to the ever-growing mental health crisis in the United States.  

The program will launch in July and pairs a licensed behavioral health clinician with a Cincinnati Fire Department paramedic. The team will respond to incidents alone, although they will be in radio contact with police in case of emergency. This new program complements the Mobile Crisis Team that responds to high-risk incidents.  

An additional partnership with Talbert House, a local integrated care agency, will provide the 988 mental health and suicide prevention crisis line when it is rolled out nationally. 

Cincinnati follows other cities throughout the United States that have funded and implemented programs for mental health emergency services. Programs in New York; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; and San Francisco have shown success in peacefully handling a myriad of mental health-related emergencies. These programs are being considered by legislatures across the U.S. and provide a more compassionate and long-term outcome in addressing mental health crisis care.  

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