Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $543,046)
Cumberland County, NJ proposes to design and implement evidence-based strategies to deescalate, treat, and case manage individuals with mental illness (MI) or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse (CMISA) who interact with police by: (1) embedding social worker(s) in a local department; (2) training law enforcement on crisis intervention, mental health first aid, and de-escalation; and (3) providing 24/7, countywide on-call crisis response/outreach to assist at police incident scenes. Overall, we are requesting $543,046, and providing $161,954 match funding for this police–mental health collaboration called EMBHED, Effective Mental Behavioral Health Emergency Diversion. Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office will partner with Millville Police Department and Inspira Health Network to deliver the embedded component, and with several other behavioral health providers to help conduct components of the training and provide the on-call crisis response/outreach. In FY10, the county jail received a JMHCP award, entitled Jail Diversion Task Force-Law Enforcement and Mental Health, but cannot retrieve the award number due to the records retention period expiration date.
Cumberland County is the poorest and least healthy in NJ. Sixteen percent of adult residents report mental health distress (14 or more days of poor mental health/month), the worst in the state. Cumberland ranks third for frequency of diagnosed depression at 19.4%, surpassing the state’s of 14.8%. In 2018, there were 1,260 cases of MI/CMISA reported by county providers, representing 56% of all treatment admissions. Our suicide rate of 8.5 is higher than the state’s and rated as needing improvement. Psychological emergency and overdose calls to our 911 center increased 40% from 2011 to 2020, totaling 1,769.
EMBHED’s target population is individuals with MI/CMISA who come into contact with police, on scene or at the station. We will determine the number of individuals our proposed strategies could serve during our planning period but anticipate in the range of 1,000 annually.
EMBHED will engage in a strategic planning process, utilizing our 28-member Mental Health Working Group, consisting of law enforcement, mental/behavioral health/substance abuse providers, judiciary, first responders (fire/EMS), and MI/CMISA consumers, to design our proposed strategies.
EMBHED advances the DOJ priorities in three ways: 1) increases access to justice, 2) protects public from crime/evolving threats, and 3) builds trust between police and community. EMBHED also addresses the program priority of promoting effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MI/CMISA and public safety.