Broomfield Police, Mental Health Workers to Team Up for Some Calls
Broomfield City Council on Tuesday gave the police department the green light to proceed with a co-responder program.
Police are partnering with Broomfield Health and Human Services and Mental Health Partners to provide the EDGE (Early Diversion, Get Engaged) program, which aims to prevent unnecessary incarceration and hospitalization of individuals with a behavioral health issue.
The grant, which was awarded in mid-January, will change the way these residents are treated by inserting a clinician into police interactions to build relationships and bridge the gap between citizens and mental health services.
Colorado Department of Human Services has allocated $87,490 to run the program from April 1 to June 30, and $310,553 for July 1 to June 30, 2019.
The grant will pay for one peer-support specialist, three behavioral health clinicians, a program supervisor, and program coordination group made up of Broomfield and MHP service providers. Additionally, the grant will provide leadership and management support from Broomfield and MHP, and evaluation and data analysis support.
The contract can be renewed for another three years for a total program term of five years.
City and County Manager Charles Ozaki is authorized to renew the agreement for three additional one-year terms, provided that funds have been appropriated.
Broomfield will kick off the EDGE program April 1.
In Broomfield, suicide is the seventh leading cause of death, Public Health Director Jason Vahling said at a February council meeting, and the third leading cause of potential life-loss. The goal is to see mental health as a health and wellness issue.
Between 2011 and 2015, 41 percent of adults with mental illness in Colorado received mental health services, according to the memo. In Boulder and Broomfield counties, only 14 percent of residents spoke with a mental health provider about their mental health.
“Additionally, Broomfield County has a high number of individuals who are traditionally underserved or who face barriers to accessing care,” it states. “The 2017 Point-in-Time survey conducted by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative revealed that mental illness (6.7 percent) and substance abuse (13.3 percent) were key reasons for homelessness in Broomfield.”
Broomfield police worked with Broomfield HHS, Mental Health Partners, and the city manager’s office to submit a grant on behalf of the department.
In Broomfield, EDGE staff is expected to have office space at police headquarters and at the jail.
“It is anticipated the program will respond to 100 field encounters during the first six months of implementation, and then increase rapidly over the next year to reach full capacity of 350 responses a year,” according to the department’s memo. “Of individuals contacted, Broomfield’s goal is to have at least 40 percent engage in behavioral health treatment services.”
The team also will assist inmates with mental health/substance abuse disorders transition from jail into the community by assisting the detention center clinician in developing a post-release plan, connecting the inmate to community-based resources, and providing follow-up contacts to individuals who indicate a need for treatment or other support services to facilitate engagement in care.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios