The City of El Paso Police Department, in collaboration with Emergence Health Network and the County of El Paso, took a big step forward recetly in efforts to improve the behavioral health system of care.
The department launched its Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to serve El Paso residents experiencing a mental health crisis. The CIT is a co-responder program partnering a specially trained El Paso officer with a masters-level licensed professional clinician from Emergence Health Network.
The police officer and clinician ride together in a patrol car. Since its launch in January of this year, the CIT is fast becoming a valued resource for individuals in serious mental health crises. This model response has been implemented with a high degree of success in other communities in Texas.
“It is exciting to see this important component come alive for our system of care,” said Kristi Daugherty, CEO of Emergence Health Network, “Because of the partner commitments of both time and funding El Paso has been able to leverage funding from Texas state allocations under Senate Bill 292.”
The CIT Teams will eventually be equipped to:
- Handle the most serious CIT calls
- Assist fellow officers with CIT-related calls
- Conduct pro-active and follow-up CIT investigations
“The launch of the Crisis Intervention Team will take some time to reach the planned full level of response,” said Assistant Chief Peter Pacillas, City of El Paso Police Department. “With the help of our local community-based organizations, we hope to have a seamless response system in place before year end.”
The availability of CIT teams is an important component for the behavioral health system of care. The El Paso Police Department,Emergence Health Network and others are actively involved in the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s efforts to improve the system of care.
The Consortium convenes El Paso leaders in the healthcare and behavioral health system with a mutual commitment to ongoing collaboration where all partners are welcome, empowered, and unified to achieve the ideal behavioral health service and support system and to reduce the burden of mental illness by designing improved, efficient, patient centered care for El Paso County residents to access where and when it is needed.
Development of a CIT was a major goal of the Justice Leadership Council, one of three Leadership Councils of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium.
“It is great to see this vital component to an ideal behavioral health system develop for El Paso County. With our community’s ongoing collaboration, El Paso residents will have better continuity of care, especially for mental health needs,” said Tracy Yellen, CEO of Paso del Norte Community Foundation/Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Chair of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s Executive Committee.
For more information on the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, click on this link.