Recognize the Need
The New Castle County Division of Police recognizes the need to bring together the Division of Police, Mental Health Professionals and community resources for the purpose of peacefully resolving incidents involving people in a mental health crisis. The Division further recognizes that one in five people live with mental illness and only a small percentage have committed crimes or qualify for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. Those statistics underscore the need for police agencies to partner with mental health provider(s) to train and share best practices. The New Castle County Division of Police has an obligation to provide a level of service to those in crisis that is compassionate and beneficial to the person in crisis and their family.
Partner to Provide Resources
New Castle County has selected ChristianaCare to partner in its newly expanded Behavioral Health Unit that provides mental health and substance abuse outreach to the community. By combining police resources and data with members of the medical and social service fields the unit is able to de-escalate the situation and connect the individual to resources that will provide long-term stabilizing support; therefore, preventing future calls for service. The Mental Health Unit consists of Crisis Intervention Team trained police officers and mental health professionals that respond together to in-progress calls for individuals in mental health crisis or help connect individuals to care in order to prevent repeat calls for service.
Ensure Appropriate Level of Care
When applicable the unit looks to divert individuals from incarceration and into the appropriate level of treatment. The Mental Health Unit also looks to divert individuals suffering a mental health crisis from unnecessary hospitalization and instead looks to get them to a treatment provider who specializes in mental health treatment. The unit will also conducts follow ups for calls for police service where mental health was the primary factor. Through this follow up the unit ensures that the individual is connected to the appropriate level of care and works with the providers, for those connected, to prevent future calls for service and limit police interaction.