Westchester County to launch mobile crisis response teams to help the mentally ill
Westchester County is set to launch a mobile crisis response team to help people who are mentally ill.
Greenburgh Councilwoman Ellen Hendrickx tells News 12 that her brother, who died by suicide, was mentally ill
"He lived on the streets much of the time not because my parents put him there, but that was a function of his illness," said Hendrickx.
While living on the streets, her brother encountered police instead of getting services he needed.
"He was picked up and he was put in jail any number of times," she said. "There was no help for him."
Now, the Town of Greenburgh is posed to sign an agreement with Westchester County to create a mobile crisis response team to help people like her brother.
"This provides help there is structure to it, it can help so many people that have issues," Hendrickx said.
Westchester County is preparing to launch eight mobile crisis response teams across the region.
The teams will be made up of police and mental health professionals who are trained to respond to a crisis, then they will follow up with individuals to connect them with services like housing and substance abuse treatment.
It's part of Westchester's Project Alliance, which is a response to calls for police reform.
"So many individuals struggle with a behavioral health crisis historically police have been the only system to respond," said Michael Orth, commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health.
Orth is overseeing Project Alliance, which is a five-prong approach developed out of the Westchester County Police Reform & Reimagining Task Force report to the governor.
The project includes 911 diversion training for 911 dispatchers so they can identify non-emergency mental health-related calls and divert them to the mobile crisis response team.
The county also established a behavioral health crisis line in conjunction with Saint Vincent's Crisis Network Team.
Emergency medical service (EMS) personal are also provided training to create a common language, reduce stigma and learn how to get a person the right level of care.
Police are also getting crisis intervention team (CIT) training.
The Mobile Crisis Response Teams will be located within eight local police departments and will partner with local agencies.
-Westchester County Police in Mount Kisco will partner with the Mental Health Association of Westchester:
-Greenburgh Police Department will partner with the Mental Health Association of Westchester.
-Mount Vernon Police Department will partner with The Guidance Center of Westchester.
-New Rochelle Police Department will partner with The Guidance Center of Westchester.
-Port Chester Police Department will partner with Family Services of Westchester.
-Ossining Police Department will partner with Family Services of Westchester.
-Peekskill Police Department will partner with Westchester Jewish Community Services.
-Yonkers Police Department will partner with People USA.