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Behavioral Health Collaboration in Will County

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $476,704)

Our project will work towards the priority to build trust between law enforcement and the community.  The lead applicant for this project is the Joliet Police Department, partnering with Cornerstone Services.  Our target population will be those persons struggling with mental health issues that have not risen to the crisis level.  Within our agency, we call them "repeat callers".  Initial research has indicated there are changing characteristics of the location of these calls (from commerical to residential locations) as well as a distinct increase in frequency.  In addition, a community assessment conducted by a collaborative group of providers in our county suggest significant deficiencies in service availability.  Finally, anecdotal evidence from officers suggests that their frustration at a lack of knowledge on how to appropriately work with these individuals, coupled with being unable to provide any real solutions, has led to increased internalized stress for them.

Key features from each of the three evidence-based models will be implemented by increasing service capacity and training volunteer officers in Crisis Intervention Team approaches as well as providing a comprehensive mental health component over two years for all other employees.  Cornerstone Services, our mental health provider, will work cooperatively with our department to coordinate referrals.  They will hire a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to conduct initial assessments and supervise advanced Master of Social Work interns conducting case management with these individuals.  At the same time, our officers and dispatchers will attend successive mental health training sessions addressing communication, chronic and persistent mental illness, substance abuse, suicide risks and other important topics.  These sessions will be designed and presented by members of the Behavioral Health Unit of the Will County Department of Public Health.

We envision this project to be consistently collaborative in nature between representatives of the Joliet Police Department, Cornerstone Services, the University of St. Francis research team, and Behavioral Health unit representatives.  Each will be integral to sccess and continuation of this project beyond the life of the grant.  In addition, we expect to add other mental health services providers in our county as the project expands.

Although largely dependent upon the planning process for concrete data collection, we estimate that two case managers will work with at least 60 persons a yar.  The Joliet Police Department has not been a previous recipient of JMHCP grant funds.  Specific subcontractors under this grant will be our research team from the University of St. Francis and a training team from the Will County Public Health Department, Behavioral Health Unit.

Date Created: December 16, 2021