Something that’s become increasingly obvious over the last year is that addressing mental health is absolutely crucial. The last year has impacted so many people in so many ways. For people with serious mental health issues, things may have been even worse. People with mental health issues have faced so many barriers, and the stressors of the last year have made things harder. And people who are facing these issues must be able to get treatment in a safe, effective environment. It’s one of the reason that crisis intervention is so critical.
That’s why it’s good to hear that the St. Louis Department of Health has received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. An agency of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. This $1,648,627 5-year grant will go towards the creation of an early 9-1-1 diversion program. This program will be exclusively for individuals with Serious Mental Illness or Co-Occurring Disorders and will provide targeted outreach in an effort to avoid arresting that individual. This is a form of crisis intervention. Find out how GrantWatch is helping others in Missouri with mental health issues by offering these grants.
Crisis Intervention Is Absolutely Critical: Let’s Talk Diversion
So, what will this program actually do?
Well, to begin with, this program is called the Law Enforcement and Behavioral Health Partnership STL CARES. This program provides training in several areas for law enforcement officers:
- trauma-informed response
- Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety
- Veterans Crisis Intervention Teams
Dr. Fredrick Echols, who is the acting director of health for the City of St. Louis, spoke on this grant award. “The first step in helping our residents experiencing an SMI is to get them connected to a network of individuals trained in crisis intervention, the program supported through these grant funds is a move in that direction when time is critical.”
This program will also provide and clarify training between law enforcement and behavioral health providers. The goal is to provide wraparound services to individuals who have Serious Mental Illness or Co-Occurring Disorders. This could prevent these individuals from ending up in the system instead of receiving needed treatment. This diversion program could actually prevent people struggling with mental illness from just ending up in the justice system.
There’s some background to this. In 2018, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that at least 14% of those in federal and state prisons had a mental illness. In local jails, the number was an alarming 26%!
This program also works on another area where individuals have a high rate of mental illness. Within the homeless community. This program will work to integrate services in cohesion with the city’s housing and homelessness initiatives. The goal is to help those people suffering from SMI or COD who’s mental state is even further complicated by being homeless.
GrantWatch Understands the Importance of This Program
These programs work to help prevent people struggling with severe mental illness from ending up in situations that could lead to arrest. It is important to understand that these people need help and treatment, so prevention ahead of time is important. Ensuring that those who are struggling have access to relevant services is crucial. That’s also why we have an entire grant category for mental health grants listed.
If you have any questions regarding these grants, feel free to reach out! Visit the GrantWatch FAQs page to learn more about how to find grants in your area.