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Friday, October 22, 2021

City of Boston now accepts application for mental health crisis response

MAYOR JANEY AND THE OFFICE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OPEN THE 2021 COMMUNITY-LED DESIGN GROUP APPLICATION AS PART OF THE MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY RESPONSE PILOT

 

BOSTON – Friday, October 22, 2021 – Mayor Kim Janey and the Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced applications are now being accepted for the Community-Led Design Group for mental health crisis response. This group of community members will be composed of Boston residents with professional and/or lived experience with mental health issues who are committed to designing a pilot for a community-led response to mental health crises. 

Mayor Janey tasked the Health and Human Services Cabinet (HHS), Boston Police Department (BPD), and Boston EMS with creating pilot programs to reimagine the way Boston responds to mental health crises in our neighborhoods in April 2021. This collaboration, which included multiple community listening sessions and public meetings, resulted in three pilot plan initiatives to improve mental health responses: (1) improving the existing co-response model, (2) introducing an alternative response, led by Boston-EMS and mental health workers, and now (3) creating a community-led response.

“I have made it a priority as Mayor to bring safety, healing, and justice to all of Boston’s communities and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Janey. “That includes reimagining how we respond to mental health crises in our city. This Design Group will help residents and their families get the right type of care they deserve, and I encourage everyone with an interest to apply.”

The goal of this program is to assemble a group of individuals from a variety of Boston neighborhoods, identities, and backgrounds. The Design Group members must be Boston residents and dedicated community members who are willing to engage in this challenging process. Community members are encouraged to reference their own lived experience and how it shapes their desire to join the Design Group in their application. Translation services will be made available for residents who do not speak English and candidates can request their preferred language in the application. 

A monetary stipend of $1,200 will be provided to each member in acknowledgment of the time and effort that goes into serving on the Design Group and to help offset any necessary childcare and transportation costs associated with their participation. All applications must be submitted by Wednesday, November 10, 2021 by 5:00 p.m. Applicants are also welcome to submit their applications by mail or in person at City Hall (suite 806). 

"As we re-imagine the City’s response to mental health crises in our neighborhoods, it’s critical that we make sure that the voices of community members are represented," said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "The Community-led Design Group is an important component in a multi-pronged approach that brings those voices to the table." 

Mayor Janey’s August announcement introduced three models of piloting how the City would respond to mental health crises. In addition to the community-led response, Mayor Janey also announced co-response and alternative response models. 

Co-response will improve and expand dedicated teams of police officers and mental health workers to respond to 911 calls that report a mental health crisis with a safety risk. 

·    Currently, dispatch of co-response takes place on a case-by-case basis. The pilot initiative standardizes this process. Dispatchers will automatically ask if a co-response team is available to respond to mental health calls that pose a safety risk. This component of the pilot began in September.

·    In addition, co-response cars with a police officer and mental health worker can currently be asked to respond to any call type. The pilot will designate dedicated co-response cars, which will only be dispatched to calls that are likely to have a mental health concern. This component of the pilot began in October, in Boston Police Districts A1 and B2, in the Downtown/Charlestown and Roxbury neighborhoods.

Alternative response will deploy teams of Emergency Medical Technicians and mental health workers to respond to 911 calls that report a mental health crisis without a safety risk. This work to develop this response is in partnership with unions representing BPD and EMS employees. 

For more information about the City’s Mental Health Crisis Response Pilots, please visit here.

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