Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $100,000)
Serious Mental Health Incidents (SMI) and SMI with co-occurring substance abuse (SMISA) very often finds the people who suffer from these incidents not getting the help they so desperately need until much later in the criminal justice process. Law enforcement is the primary response to incidents of this nature which result in individuals being processed through the criminal justice system without receiving the help that they need. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office has recognized that the need to provide services to individuals who suffer from SMI and SMISA to address their needs before they are processed through the criminal justice system. Teaming with Mental Health Professionals and Paramedics teams will be used to respond to Calls For Service (CFS) that have been identified through a detailed screening process and meet the criteria for their response. These teams will be able to provide on-site triage and transportation if necessary to meet the needs of individuals so as to provide them help through existing agencies that specialize in that field. Early intervention in SMI and SMISA has proven effective in assisting those that suffer from these conditions return to a sense of normalcy while providing law enforcement more detailed information should relapse occur so that they are better equipped to handle the situation. Ultimately the goal of the program is to reduce the risk of harm that individuals who suffer from SMI or SMISA are to not only themselves but to the public as well by identifying and providing the resources necessary to provide them the help that they need.