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City of Missoula Behavioral Health Crisis Response & Diversion Project

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $487,564)


Missoula Police Department (lead applicant), in collaboration with All Nations Health Center (mental health partner), is seeking $498,721 to enhance and expand the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program to promote effective strategies by law enforcement to 1) identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with Mental Health Disorders (MHDs) or co-occurring Mental Health Substance Use Disorders (MHSUDs) who encounter law enforcement to improve public safety; and 2) propose interventions that have been shown by empirical evidence to reduce recidivism.

CIT is a community-based program that relies on strong partnerships, community resources, and stakeholder commitment to divert people experiencing MHDs or co-occurring MHSUDs in crisis from the criminal justice system. While a critical component is to provide de-escalation training to law enforcement and first responders, CIT follows a national best practice model and is working to implement all 10 core elements, which includes developing and implementing a comprehensive system-wide strategy for behavioral health diversion interventions within our community’s criminal justice system.

Missoula County sits on the western edge of Montana, covers an area comparable to the size of Delaware, and is home to 120,000 people, around 74,000 of whom live within Missoula city limits. The Flathead Reservation, governed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, borders to the north. The Native population is disproportionately over-represented in the local jail and in our houselessness system. According to the US Census Bureau, Native American/Alaska Native people make up 3% of the total Missoula population which is in sharp contrast to 15.5% of the houseless population and 17% of the jail population. 


Proposed strategies: 1) hire a Behavioral Health Diversion Project Specialist to enhance capacity for the planning and implementation of upstream, macro-level (community) interventions, innovative strategies, and sustainable crisis system development initiatives; 2) enhance CIT training opportunities offered to first responders, crisis system partners and/or the public; 3) hire a Behavioral Health Diversion Care Traffic Controller to identify and divert the target population to community-based treatment and support services as well as streamline community-wide transition support efforts; and 4) implement Critical Time Intervention, an evidenced-based practice that mobilizes and strengthens client support during the critical periods of transition.

Expected outcomes include the system-wide adoption of CIT as the model to improve the behavioral health crisis care continuum; provision of evidence-based interventions targeting jail diversion to the identified population; reduction in recidivism in Missoula County; and regular program assessments.

Date Created: September 26, 2023