The City of Tulsa 911 Mental Health Collaborative, a partnership between the City of Tulsa 911 Public Safety Communications (PSC), Tulsa Police, Family & Children’s Services Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services (COPES) and the Tulsa Area United Way, has expanded to serving Tulsans from two to five days a week. The Collaborative quickly connects 911 callers in psychiatric distress with a COPES mental health expert embedded in the 911 dispatch center.
Launched in September 2020, COPES 911 enhances resolution through evidence-based assessment, de-escalation and rapid connection to behavioral health services and resources.
Nationally, serious mental health crises handled by law enforcement continue to increase; but most individuals experiencing a mental health crisis do not require law enforcement intervention or activation of 911 responders. COPES, the local provider for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is Tulsa’s telephone and mobile crisis service for children and adults experiencing emotional or behavioral distress or psychiatric emergency. COPES mental health professionals are available 24/7 by calling 918.744.4800.
This innovative program has been recognized locally and nationally for its impact, and COPES is uniquely positioned to answer the 988 suicide hotline expected to start service in July of 2022.
COPES 911 was one of five Innovation Grants given by Tulsa Area United Way in 2020. Learn more about SOCIAL INNOVATION GRANTS.
911 Mental Health Collaborative saves man's life
Paul is alive today because a Family & Children Services’ COPES (Community Outreach Psychiatric Services) clinician detected the urgency in his voice when he called 911.
Earlier that day, a COPES clinician answers a telephone call in the Tulsa 911 dispatch center. It was Paul. He had reached a breaking point.
Paul tells the clinician he was suicidal and tried to swallow 300 acetaminophen tablets. Another COPES clinician calls 911 to send emergency services to Paul’s last known address on file while the initial clinician remained on the phone with him.
The police officers search for Paul at his home residence and workplace, but they were unable to find him. Just as one officer was about to clear the call, he receives an alert from the COPES clinician that Paul was spotted on the top floor of a local parking garage.
COPES at 911 updated the emergency dispatcher, who reassigns the call and contacts the parking garage security office to assist. A security officer was told by the dispatcher that Paul did not want police assistance, but he would willingly go with EMSA personnel.
Feeling distressed, Paul tells the clinician that if the police officers approach him, he would jump from the parking garage.
The clinician sent this information to the police. Cautiously, casino security, police officers, and EMSA were able to reach Paul. Shaken, he was transported by ambulance to the hospital.
COPES is open 24/7 and serves adults 18 years and older in Tulsa County. Anyone can call 918.744.4800 for help to determine which crisis services can best meet needs.
F&CS Receives National Award for City of Tulsa 911 Mental Health Collaborative
During the 2021 national conference for Mental Health Corporations of America (mhca), Family & Children’s Services obtains the first MHCA Most Innovative Member Award. This inaugural award recognizes the pioneering work F&CS is doing by embedding a COPES (Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services) mental health expert in Tulsa’s 911 Center. This groundbreaking, multi-layered solution connects 911 callers in psychiatric crisis with an onsite mental health crisis expert. The caller can be rapidly assessed for the appropriate level of mental health intervention and connected to help and services.
This collaborative that improves lives, enhances response and saves money is a partnership between the Tulsa Police Department, the city’s 911 Public Safety Communications Department, Family & Children’s Services COPES and the Tulsa Area United Way.
In 2020, MHCA invited member organizations from across the country to present their innovation efforts at conferences throughout the year. Gail Lapidus, F&CS chief executive officer, showcased the innovative work of the City of Tulsa 911 Mental Health Collaborative.
The MHCA Innovative Taskforce rated innovations based upon the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs. The award was presented to F&CS during their annual national conference on February 24, 2021.