Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $550,000)
The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA), in partnership with the Richmond Police Department, is requesting funding to support a collaborative effort by public safety officials and service providers to identify high utilizers of emergency services who may have a significant behavioral health issue that contributes to frequent need for services. The proposed project will consist of a specialized team of officers, clinicians and peer working in collaboration with community service providers to identify and respond to high-risk individuals. These individuals could be referred for intervention in crisis situations, or as follow-up to services in an effort to improved continuity of care and referral to appropriate community resources for continued support. Points of intervention might include: Pre-arrest; hospitals; post commitment; jail releases; court docket contacts; and/or ambulance calls. Even with the RBHA’s comprehensive service array, there remains a significant contingent of individuals that we are unable to successfully engage in services.
The target population is adults with mental health disorders with possible co-occurring substance use disorder. The proposed number of individuals to be served is 150 over the life of the grant. While the last several years have seen economic improvement in the Richmond area, as well as the state of Virginia, Richmond is still hit harder by poverty and unemployment than the rest of the state. Approximately 5.6% of Richmond residents are unemployed, compared to 4% at the state level. Poverty remains a significant problem – 25.2% of all residents are at or below the poverty level. The city has been affected, like many other areas, by the opioid epidemic. In Richmond in 2020, there were 337 non-fatal opioid overdoses compared to 226 in 2019. There were 155 fatal overdoses in 2020.
The project will address these Priority Areas: 1) serving those residing in high poverty areas; 2) promoting effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to persons with MI or CMISA who are high utilizers of emergency services; 3) proposing interventions that have been shown to reduce recidivism; and 4) when appropriate, use validated assessment tools to target offenders with a moderate or high risk of recidivism and a need for treatment services.
The amount of federal funding requested is $550,000 over three years. RBHA is a current recipient of JMHCP grant funds (#2019-MO-BX-0014).