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The Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties highlighted data from the last four years from the 11 local law enforcement agencies participating in the Crisis Intervention Team program for the two counties during a CIT Stakeholder luncheon this week, also showing the impact that the program is having in putting individuals in crisis in connection with behavioral health services. 

MHDAS Executive Director Adam Sorenson expressed appreciation to the law enforcement agencies in Logan and Champaign counties for their dedication to tracking CIT calls for service during the event Wednesday, June 12, at Quest Community Church, where the agency also honored its 2024 CIT Officers of the Year, as previously detailed in the Examiner

“We are proud to report that all 11 agencies are participating and regularly entering behavioral health calls for service into the Cordata platform. In fact, on May 19, 2024, we hit the milestone of 1,000 CIT forms entered,” he said. 

The 2024 report is informed by a sample of 793 separate CIT encounters spanning 53 months of data collection, from Jan. 1, 2020, to May 31, 2024, MHDAS Director of Treatment and Recovery Sarah Ferguson reported. (The CIT encounters with missing data in key variables, such as date of birth, had to be excluded from the analysis, which accounted for the reduced sample size). 

Sorenson noted that children and adults under the age of 24 continue to be a vulnerable subset the CIT calls for service. For the two counties counties, 30 percent of all CIT encounters by law enforcement occur with individuals under age 24, with 234 of the 793 CIT encounters falling into this age range. 

Sixty-nine percent (162) of the CIT encounters with this age group were suicide‐related, according to the report. 

Also, 82 percent (193) of CIT encounters with this age group are resolved with an Emergency Department visit, 9 percent (22) with no action taken, 5 percent (11) with a mental health referral, and less than 3 percent (8) with an arrest. 

Recently with new programming and services in places, the MHDAS Board is seeing more treatment options other than emergency room in these types of crisis, and are giving people more access to services in their own homes, Sorenson said. In fact, two new grant programs — totaling about $1.2 million — that are tailored to meet these needs are being implemented by the board just in recent months. 

“The MHDAS Board has the goal of reducing the use of EDs whenever possible and increasing the rate of home‐based behavioral health crisis response services. Referral options rolling out this coming year will include TCN’s Co‐Responder program (for all ages) and Coleman’s MRSS mobile crisis response team for youth (under age 21).”

The MHDAS Board was awarded a $575,000 ARPA Co‐Responder grant with TCN Behavioral Health and a $695,000 MRSS (youth crisis response) grant with Coleman Health Services, both directly informed by CIT data, Ferguson noted in her report. 

“We at MHDAS have been working closely with our partners at TCN Behavioral Health and Coleman Health Services to build and roll out these programs. 

“The structure of both grant requests was determined by an analysis of our CIT data, and we have our law enforcement partners to thank for making this possible. We also appreciate the continued support from our CIT stakeholders as TCN & Coleman work hard to staff and implement these programs sustainably. 

“Both programs are a first of their kind in our counties.”

For the ARPA Co‐Responder grant, Logan and Champaign counties will provide acute mental health crisis de-escalation and stabilization to local residents within their own homes and in other sites outside a traditional clinical setting. 

The co-responder team will also evaluate the need for care coordination for individuals who received a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) response in the last six months and are not already connected to care. This aspect of the program will address underlying personal and social vulnerabilities that may mitigate the likelihood of future crisis events. 

Co-responder team members will include peer supporters or case managers and licensed clinicians that collaborate closely with the 911 dispatch centers and treatment providers in each county.

The goals of this project are to reduce law enforcement time on the scene, reducing the duration of the crisis event, reduce the potential use of force with the patient, increase immediate access to behavioral health resources, reducing arrests and reducing emergency department use.

Coleman Health Services is also working to implement MRSS programming for youths 21 and under in the two counties, and is currently seeking a therapist to fully get the program in place. The programming that assists young people who are experiencing significant behavioral or emotional distress is currently available in 45 counties in Ohio, with Governor Mike DeWine’s goal for it to be available in all 88 counties. 

Where MRSS is available, a team of trained behavioral health professionals can deliver services to families 24/7, in person, at the young person’s home, school, local emergency room or another location in the community. The Statewide Youth Services Hotline is (888) 418-MRSS (6777). 

Julie Wilcox from TCN Behavioral Health also offered an overview of the local 988 suicide and crisis line. She supervises the local program, noting that all 988 staff across the country are fully trained to handle various types of crises, including assessing suicide risk, offering support by listening to a person’s story and also linking the individual to local services. To access the help line, call or text 988. 

“These types of conversations that we have over the phone usually aren’t just a couple minutes. They can often stretch for an hour or so. We’re hear to listen and provide help,” she said. 

Wilcox noted that less than 2 percent of calls result in emergency intervention. 

TCN’s new peer recovery supporter, Winona Barstow, was also introduced at the meeting. She is a suicide survivor herself who also lost a parent to suicide, and is a member of the LOSS Team (Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide). Barstow related that she is celebrating 10 years of sobriety as well. 

“She can really meet people where they are and give them that sense of hope that they need and a sense of comfort,” Wilcox said of the compassionate peer supporter.