When Mental-Health Experts, Not Police, Are the First Responders – Wall Street Journal, Nov. 24, 2018 (PDF)
Program in Eugene, Oregon, is viewed as a model for reducing risk of violence
New initiative will fill the gap between police, emergency response and hospital
Siuslaw News – June 16, 2019
Article is about CAHOOTS potentially extending services to western Lane County and the coastal Florence area.
Salem should not yield to Eugene in effort to help the homeless
Salem Statesman Journal, June 2018
Eugene’s CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) could be considered the gold standard.
The non-emergency mobile crisis intervention unit does more than just sober up the homeless. They perform welfare checks and partner with other nonprofits to offer suicide intervention and prevention.
Tim Black, operations coordinator for CAHOOTS, told the Statesman Journal that the city of Eugene and Lane County bought CAHOOTS its mobile mental-health vans.
Portland mental health responders, an alternative to police, usually bring cops
Street Roots, May 2019
A heavy reliance on law enforcement is a departure from the original intent of the Multnomah County-funded Project Respond
Whether it’s the high cost of health insurance, the scarcity of state-funded psychiatric treatment beds, or the fear of an institutional setting, Portlanders with mental illnesses—especially those without homes—aren’t getting the kind of care they need. It’s a reality not lost on city officials.
“I’m increasingly of the opinion that we are addressing a major public health epidemic,” Wheeler said last Tuesday, referring to the city’s growing mental health needs. “And I’m not sure we have the right tools in place in able to address it.”
White Bird Clinic’s crisis program is spreading its wings.
The program, which provides walk-in and around-the-clock phone counseling to thousands of local residents each year, is moving from its decades-old home inside the clinic’s headquarters near Mill Street and 12th Avenue to a larger space along West Seventh Avenue.
The pending move is another indication of the rapid growth of the nonprofit — which provides medical, mental, dental care as well as social services to homeless and low-income people — celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the number of residents seeking a helping hand.
Local crisis unit in cahoots with more police agencies
With its 30th anniversary approaching, CAHOOTS is balancing significant growth, national media exposure and interest from law enforcement departments who seek to replicate its unique model.
When Mental-Health Experts, Not Police, Are the First Responders
Wall Street Journal – December 2018
DOWNLOAD AND READ – When Mental-Health Experts, Not Police, Are the First Responders – WSJ (PDF)
Think Out Loud – OPB, December 2018
The Eugene program CAHOOTS is getting national recognition and has become a model for police response to mental health crises in other states. Instead of sending police officers to mental health crisis calls, CAHOOTS sends a crisis worker and medic. CAHOOTS now responds to nearly 20 percent of emergency calls in Eugene and Springfield. We talk to Tim Black, the operations coordinator for CAHOOTS.
Mental Health Counselors In ‘CAHOOTS’ With Local Police In Eugene, Oregon
WBUR – Boston, March 2019
A program that helps people with mental disorders and substance abuse is expanding its services, thanks to new funding from Lane County. Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets (CAHOOTS) has been around for 25 years through the White Bird Clinic in Eugene.
A new crisis intervention program in the South Sound has hit the streets in an effort to improve Olympia’s downtown core.
It’s called a “Crisis Response Unit,’ and half a dozen behavioral health specialists walk the streets offering a hand up and an ear to those who need it.
Sometimes they give rides to shelters or doctors – and even hand out shoes or snacks.
While the unit doesn’t solely focus on people experiencing homelessness, the majority of their clients are – with that comes referrals for mental or substance abuse treatment for those who want it.
“We don’t run warrants, we don’t snitch on anybody because in this field trust is really important,” said Buck Williams who is part of the team.
The program officially started in April to help keep people in crisis avoid turning a bad situation into something worse.
The city says in the past two months, the team has responded to 700 calls in the downtown core – many times the teams are dispatched by police or find clients on their own.
Olympia’s crisis response team had nearly 700 calls in its first two months
Olympian, June 1, 2019
In its first two months, the unit went on nearly 700 calls, more than half of them initiated by a CRU member, according to numbers provided by the city. Another 73 calls were referred by police or fire crews and 63 came directly from emergency dispatchers.
The vast majority of people they came in contact with were homeless, and the most common presenting problem was related to mental health.
Not every interaction is a crisis. Similar to police officers who work on foot downtown, CRU sees a lot of the same people every day, getting to know their behavior and routines. David Gervais, a CRU member, says he has gotten calls about people who appear to be in crisis when in reality that is a normal day for them.
CRU members can hand out bus passes or give people rides to medical services or to a shelter, for instance. In the back of CRU’s van are granola bars, juice boxes, diapers and blankets; at its office are boxes of shoes and socks and clothes to hand out.
On occasion CRU members carry cigarettes, which can be a good way to get someone to stand still, take a breath and focus their attention.
CRU isn’t meant to be a free ride or a cigarette hookup, but sometimes that is what it takes to de-escalate a situation, says Anne Larsen, outreach services coordinator for the Olympia Police Department who oversees CRU.
More intensive help, such as placement in an inpatient facility, is voluntary, meaning the client needs to want it.
Reducing Risk and Improving Results of Police Interactions with the Mental Ill – Womack 2014A Controlled Before-and-After Evaluation of a Mobile Crisis Partnership Between Mental Health and Police Services in Nova Scotia – Kisely 2010
LSF Health Systems RFP – Florida 2018