Cities Know That the Way Police Respond to Mental Crisis Calls Must Change. But How?

Philadelphia police officers are now using a co-responder program that pairs them with civilian mental health professionals, like social workers. This enables them to respond to 911 calls involving people experiencing mental health crises. Other cities, such as Denver and Los Angeles, have implemented similar models. Philadelphia’s program has shown success in connecting individuals to mental health and social services, rather than making arrests. There is also a focus on the 988 system which provides a three-digit number for people experiencing a mental health emergency. However, challenges remain in terms of handling the overlap between 911 and 988 calls and providing continuing care resources for people in crisis.

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