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Keyword: behavioral health

Mobile Crisis Team Will be Available 24/7

Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler announced plans to significantly expand the County’s emergency mental health system by funding overnight hours for the Mobile Crisis Team that responds to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, including those addicted to opioids.

The Baltimore County Crisis Response System, a collaborative effort between the County’s Health and Police Departments, works with The Affiliated Sante’ Group, Inc. to provide emergency mental health services to Baltimore County residents. The Mobile Crisis Team is currently available from 9:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily. The increased funding of $561,000, contingent on County Council approval, will bring the Mobile Crisis Team budget to $2.6 million and will help expand their services to 24 hours per day.

“Our Mobile Crisis Team provides a vital service to people in their most vulnerable moments; by pairing a mental health clinician with a police officer, they are able to respond in a way that deescalates situations, protecting both the individual and overall public safety,” Mohler said. “If approved by the Council, we will ensure that County residents who need these services throughout the night will now have access to them.”

“The increase in funding will mean an expansion in service hours, and having these services available around the clock is priceless,” said Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch.

The Mobile Crisis Team responds to severe behavioral health emergencies in the community, with the goals of diverting residents from unnecessary hospitalizations and/or entry into the criminal justice system, and reducing the number of emergency petitions. The team provided 2,343 interventions to County residents and their families in fiscal year 2018.

“This funding will allow constant coverage throughout the County to provide a resource to patrol officers dealing with those suffering from mental health issues,” said Chief of Police Terrence Sheridan. “Hopefully, this will continue our trend of peacefully resolving incidents involving individuals in crisis.”

“The Mobile Crisis Team has been a tremendous asset to the community and I support the expansion of their availability into the overnight hours, when many incidents take place,” said County Council Chair Julian Jones.

“Mental health crises don’t start in the morning and end at night,” concluded Mohler. “We have to take care of those in need.”

Facilitating Access to Mental Health Care

Another strength of the Mobile Crisis Team is that they help people take full advantage of the dynamic matrix of services in place to link County residents to preventative care options.

For more information on mental health services offered in Baltimore County, call the Baltimore County Department of Health at 410-887-3828. To access emergency mental health services, call the 24-hour Mobile Crisis Team hotline at 410-931-2214.   


Releases Report by Council of State Governments Justice Center

An independent review of the County’s police responses to people with behavioral health needs found that the County has a strong foundation in place with its Baltimore County Crisis Response System (BCCRS), and its programs and services. The assessment, conducted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center at the request of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, offers recommendations intended to further improve the County’s practices.

In late 2016, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz asked the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to conduct an independent assessment of its law enforcement and behavioral health collaboration, the Baltimore County Crisis Response System (BCCRS), which helps the County respond to people who have behavioral health needs. In partnership with the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD), the Baltimore County Department of Health, and the Affiliated Santé Group—a non-profit behavioral health crisis service provider—the CSG Justice Center reviewed the BCCRS for its effectiveness, comprehensiveness, and adherence to national best practices.

Report Hails Cultural Competence Training

The assessment report outlines positive steps the County has taken toward providing additional training focused on improving the cultural competence of law enforcement officers, and states that the number of hours BCPD spends on these trainings exceeds other jurisdictions with which the CSG Justice Center has worked:

Additional trainings related to implicit bias and cultural competency for all new BCPD recruits on topics such as bias incident, FBI civil rights, and diversity

“Fair Practices” training for new lieutenants and front-line supervisors (i.e., corporals) that focuses on the opportunities, challenges, and values of ensuring diversity in a public safety agency, including its impact on employee morale and the agency’s relationship with the community

“Blue Courage” curriculum training for all sworn BCPD employees (from recruit to the executive level), which explores the importance of respect in policing and public safety

Steps Taken to Better Respond to Individuals with Behavioral Health Needs

The report identifies significant steps County officials have taken to improve BCCRS and BCPD responses to people who have behavioral health needs. These efforts include:

A three-year strategic plan for providing comprehensive mental health and de-escalation training to staff at all levels

An action plan developed by the police department to improve data collection and analysis for BCCRS data and performance indicators

Additional specialized training opportunities provided to officers and clinicians on the Mobile Crisis Team, such as crisis intervention and mental health/first aid training

Crisis Intervention Team training opportunities for 911 dispatchers and other critical first responders in the County

Recommendations for Continuous Improvement

Kamenetz has directed the County’s police chief and health and human services director to respond to the report’s recommendations within 90 days.

“Our police department and health officials remain committed to improving police responses to those with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders,” said Kamenetz. “This assessment is critical in strengthening our effectiveness, comprehensiveness, and adherence to national best practices.”


Tenth Annual Child and Adolescent Resource Fair Set for November 2

Baltimore County is holding its Tenth Annual Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Resource Fair from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., Thursday, November 2, 2017 at Oregon Ridge Lodge (13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville). An interagency collaboration, the Fair will feature resources for professionals as well as parents and families of children or adolescents with mental health or substance use disorder issues.

Each year, over 50 different mental health and substance use disorder treatment vendors are showcased at the Fair. This year similar agencies will be featured as well as a keynote presentation at 2:30 p.m., “Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Trauma and Resilience.”

During this event, parents, family members, counselors, and other professionals will have an opportunity to learn about resources, network with other families, and speak informally with service providers in Baltimore County. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit https://bacochildresourcefair2017.eventbrite.com or call 410-887-3828.

The Fair is sponsored by Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services, Baltimore County Public Schools, Baltimore County Office of the Public Defender, Mental Health Association of Maryland, Associated Catholic Charities, The Children’s Guild, Thrive Behavioral Health, Abundant Living Resources and A Better Tomorrow Starts Today.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017