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Mental Health Services at Initial 911 call

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $550,000)

New Castle County Division of Emergency Communications (NCCEC) is the lead applicant and will partner with a bid awarded consultant to apply under Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Program (Grants.gov: Opportunity # O-BJA-2023-171520) in the amount of $550,000.

The purpose of this new initiative will connect those in need to the mental health services from the initial 911 call.  NCCEC is taking the initiative to assist individuals who are reaching out for help and suffering from a mental health crisis.  The fourth 911 option will divert those in need of mental health support from ever encountering the criminal justice system.  In 2022, the NCC 911 call center answered 4,412 emergency 911 calls in which an officer responded involving a person believed to have a mental illness (MI) disorder and 1,299 in which an EMS unit responded.

Our target population is any individual within New Castle County, Delaware who calls 911 while experiencing a mental health incident.  Our project: The fourth 911 option: Mental Health Services, will place two mental health professionals into the 911 operations call center to redirect calls that are identified as being mental health related.  The call operators answering these emergency calls will make a critical assessment of the health and safety of those involved in each call.  They will determine what help is needed and decide whether it should be led by law enforcement officers, emergency medical services, or a mental health professional.

The priority area in this application will focus on “Urbanized Areas".  New Castle County (NCC) has a population of 571,708 (U.S Census 2021) comprised of 62% White, 25% African American,  4% Asian, and 9% Hispanic or Latino.  We will address the program-specific priority area pertaining to promoting effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MHDs or co-occurring MHSUDs who encounter law enforcement and improve public safety.

NCC recognized the need to address individuals with mental health disorders and subsequently was awarded a JMHCP grant through BJA (2019-MO-BX-0013). NCC (Police) created the Behavioral Health Unit which consists of a police officer and a mental health professional (MHP). This initiative will enhance our ability to support individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Date Created: September 26, 2023