MINNESOTA: St. Paul Police Expanding New Mental Health Unit

January 18, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
State:  Minnesota

MPR News

The St. Paul Police Department is expanding its mental health unit. Currently staffed by four officers and two social workers, the unit will add three more officers to help respond to mental health-related calls. Launched last spring, the unit works to defuse mental health crises and connect people in distress with appropriate services. By getting people the help they need, the unit aims to reduce unnecessary contact with emergency departments and jails. Unit staff provide follow-up support and try to accommodate the individual needs of each person they serve. "We meet [people] where they're at," said social worker Amber Ruth. "If they feel more comfortable meeting with me in a clinic setting, we can make those arrangements. Otherwise, I can meet them in their home, in a park, in a centrally located area in the community. It's really up to them."

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Settings:  Crisis Centers/Services, Law Enforcement
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Respond to Crisis