Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $915,000)
The City of Bellevue is requesting federal funding to launch a permanent Community Crisis Assistance Team (CCAT) program – this includes the salary and benefits for one mental health professional, as well as necessary equipment to support the program.
The CCAT program will respond to the growing need in the community and among first responders for behavioral health expertise and support. Mental and behavioral health problems in our community are on the rise. Between 2015 and 2020, Bellevue police offers responded to over 6200 calls involving mental, emotional and suicidal subjects. This is an increase of 56% since 2015. Currently, the average time an officer spends on a 911 call involving behavioral health issues is two hours and many times the problem is not solved.
The CCAT program will enable the City of Bellevue to send a CCAT unit, which will include a mental health professional and a plain clothes officer, to 911 calls that include a behavioral crisis component. CCAT members will be trained in identifying, understanding, and responding to signs of mental illnesses, developmental or intellectual disabilities, and substance use disorders. They will be capable of providing screening, assessment, de-escalation, trauma-informed culturally competent services, referrals to treatment providers, and transportation to immediately necessary treatment. When necessary, they will coordinate with health or social services.
The goals of this program are to:
Improve the quality of life of individuals in crisis by diverting them from the criminal justice system and providing alternate pathways to addressing their mental health and behavioral crisis. This will reduce the number of individuals arrested, the number of individuals booked into jail and the number of unnecessary hospital emergency room visits.
Improve and make more effective police response to individuals experiencing mental and behavioral health problems.
Address and, hopefully, end the cycle of chronic homelessness. By helping to direct people to the care and services they need versus directly into the criminal justice system, the program will help address some of the root causes of homelessness.
This program will most directly impact the City of Bellevue and its surrounding Eastside neighboring communities and cities. This program, however, will also impact King County and tie into county and regional efforts to address mental health, homelessness and improve police response in our communities.