Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $550,000)
Methuen Police Department and Front Line Services as lead agencies seek funding in the total of $550,000 over the three year grant period for the creation of a community response team and community support center. The lead agencies are focused on creating equitable access to behavioral health care for all, especially those typically marginalized, for this reason the lead agencies are applying with the Equity Priority. Methuen and its partner community Lawrence have majority minority communities that are predominately Latinx (Latino/a). Methuen Police and Front Line Services understand the need to divert behavioral calls for service away from law enforcement and to a clinically trained team that can better meet the needs of the community. Additionally, Front Line Services has worked to create a model built on meeting the person served where they are at and providing ongoing support until a permanent support network can be put in place. This work will be brought to Methuen with the community support center model allowing officers to seamlessly send referrals to the clinical staff to provide post-crisis outreach and supports to include peer support, benefits support, social determinants support, and therapy. Front Line Services is a previous BJA JMHCP recipient having been formed out of a 2019 BJA JMHCP grant with Tewksbury Police Department as lead (2019-MO-BX-0012). Since the 2019 BJA JMHCP grant with Tewksbury Police Front Line has shown substantial growth and success and as a step towards ongoing sustainability made the move to form an independent agency. Through this Front Line can provide its model of connecting communities with care to communities well beyond Greater Lowell in Massachusetts where it had its beginnings. Methuen Police and Front Line Services will partner to provide access to a master’s level trained clinician along with a peer support specialist that will provide direct support to the community through non-acute crisis response and post-crisis outreach. The outcomes of this project are to decrease the behavioral health calls for services responded to by law enforcement, to decrease unnecessary emergency room visits and criminal arrests, to increase connections to outpatient supports, increase initial engagement in cross-over/bridge supports post-crisis, and to increase equitable access through providing culturally and linguistically competent services to the community. The community is ready for assistance and is unable to sustain it on its own however this will provide the needed support to get the community moving on the right path.