Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $550,000)
Tropical Texas Behavioral Health (TTBH) is proposing to enhance the Mental Health-Law Enforcement Co-Responder Team (CRT) Program. TTBH will continue its collaboration with the city of Pharr Police Department (Pharr PD) in this program. TTBH’s target population are individuals identified with Mental Illness (MI) including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders (CMISA). TTBH proposes to serve 170 individuals during the implementation and execution during the second the third year. Our service area will be in the city of Pharr, Texas located in Hidalgo County. The priority area for this program is in a designated High-Poverty Areas or Persistent-Poverty Counties. A review of the U.S. Census Bureau, Population by Poverty Status by Counties indicates that our counties of Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy are areas of persistent poverty with an average rate of poverty three times higher than the U.S. average. The area is predominantly Hispanic at about 90% of the population. The poverty level and population without insurance are both at about 30%.
The program goal is to reduce and divert individuals with serious mental illness away from jail and provide linkages to mental health treatment and support services. This program will benefit individuals in crisis who come in contact with law enforcement for misdemeanor offenses determined to be related to the symptoms of their mental illness, who may be appropriate for diversion from the criminal justice system into routine behavioral health care services. The CRT will be a community-based, ride along-respond along service model targeting the delivery of immediate screening, assessment, and brief intensive intervention services to adults and adolescents with MI and CMISA. The team works together to identify the best approach to assist the person with the least restrictive methods. The CRT will engage in evidence-based techniques to promote effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MI or CMISA and to public safety. This is the first co-responder program to be initiated in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Furthermore, the CRT team intends to continue outreach efforts to engage community partners and provide Mental Health training to local Law Enforcement Agencies.
TTBH will partner with the Pharr PD and therefore the proposed subcontractor for this program. The request for federal funding is for the amount of $550,000 for three years. Additionally, TTBH has not previously been a recipient of JMHCP grant funds.