Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $412,236)
The City of Charleston respectfully submits this proposal to create a comprehensive behavioral health response model. We request (1) mental health clinician, (1) peer recovery specialist, and enhanced CIT training to aid in improving our response to individuals suffering from behavioral health issues. Currently, CPD is able to provide short-term, trauma focused therapy to victims of crime through an embedded mental health clinician. Victims are referred from victim advocates, officers, or other community partners. Providing these services takes up a bulk of the clinician's time at the department, and leaves a gap in services for people who are in need of more immediate crisis intervention and support services in the field. Having an embedded clinician at the department has been huge because it allows the CPD to place a practitioner in a unique and trusted role with officers. While the city has access to and regularly utilizes Mobile Crisis services through the Department of Mental Health, staffing issues and consistent access have posed a significant challenge. Through this grant we hope to employ a second clinician who would be able to co-respond to the scene immediately and potentially de-escalate and triage the situation. This would potentially eliminate the need for Mobile Crisis to respond – freeing them up to go to other incidents in the County and potentially resolve behavioral crises more efficiently. Additionally, this clinician would have the benefit of establishing relationships in the community with citizens who are in need of emergency response or are high-utilizers. Through relationships, there is increased likelihood that they may be more willing to engage in the many services available in the community that they wouldn’t have accessed if only police had responded to the scene. Once engaged in outpatient services in the community, their need for emergency response/crisis response will decrease. CPD's Overdose Outreach Team currently maintains strong partnership with treatment providers and conducts follow-up outreach to overdose victims; however, there is a gap in proactive outreach to the community struggling with SUD. To close this gap, the CPD proposes to hire (1) peer support specialist to conduct place-based, street outreach alongside our Outreach Workers currently embedded within the City of Charleston's Department of Housing and Community Development.