Our Division partnered with the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD in 2015 to come up with a revolutionary new concept, the Crisis Call Diversion Program.
The first of its kind in the nation, this program is designed to have mental health counselors on the floor of the Houston Emergency Center alongside dispatchers and call takers so they can attempt to either handle or help de-escalate certain calls.
When a call comes in that does not involve violence or a crime, these counselors will attempt to call the reportee and start trying to handle the call as they would for a crisis hotline call. If they are able to handle the situation utilizing their resources and training, they can ask the caller if they still need police. If the caller’s needs have been taken care of, the Crisis Call Diversion Team has successfully handled the call without a police officer being utilized.
The Crisis Call Diversion team makes appropriate mental health referrals and is able to send follow-up care catering to the caller’s individual needs from local mental health agencies. This is something that officers can only give resource information for, so for certain programs, CCD can enroll the person into mental health programs quickly.
CCD has the potential to save several systems money. Cost savings may be realized through avoidance of police and EMS responses as well as emergency room utilization.