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Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council Approve Funding for Three Mental Health Initiatives

Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council passed three ordinances today that will allocate City of Houston American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA) fundinginto behavioral health programs that are intended to assist the Houston Police Department when handling mental health crisis calls.

The Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT) and Crisis Call Diversion Program (CCD), Crisis Intervention Response Teams (CIRT), and Clinician Officer Remote Evaluation (CORE) are part of One Safe Houston, the Mayor’s public safety initiative to combat violent crime and part of the City’s effort to allocate $21 million of funding into mental health and domestic violence prevention initiatives.

  • Mobile Crisis Outreach Team – an interdisciplinary mobile team comprised of psychiatrists, registered nurses, and licensed clinicians specializing in crisis intervention and rapid response. Within MCOT, there will be the Crisis Call Diversion Program, a 24-hour coverage program aimed at diverting mental health crisis calls that are non-criminal/non-violent to counselors and community mental health providers rather than sending first responders to investigate. (Approximately $12.6 million approved today)
  • Crisis Intervention Response Teams – a specialized program that pairs a mental health clinician with a law enforcement partner. (Approximately $2.4 million approved today for Subrecipient Agreement between the City of Houston and The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD)
  • Clinician Officer Remote Evaluation – a telehealth strategy for responding to mental health crisis calls using a tablet and a HIPAA-approved technology platform to connect a law enforcement first responder with a mental health clinician in the community at the time of the 911 dispatch. (Approximately $2.5 million approved today)

“Widespread social anxiety and mental health concerns are serious factors contributing to the nationwide spike in violent crime,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “These ordinances will ensure that we have mental health professionals in place who can respond to situations involving a person with a mental health crisis. I want to thank City Council for approving these measures that will allow our city to have the proper resources available to fight against violent crime and continue our legacy of emerging as One Safe Houston.”

One Safe Houston is a comprehensive violence reduction initiative that links research-based strategies to improve public safety and reduce the harms caused by violent crime. To learn more about One Safe Houston, please visit www.houstontx.gov/onesafehouston/.

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