The Police One Stop expansion will help those experiencing mental health crisis access critical care
Today, partners in Tulsa’s mental health crisis system announced an expansion of the CrisisCare Center at 1055 S. Houston Ave., creating a single-entry point for law enforcement to take individuals experiencing mental health crises. The expansion is made possible by funding from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) and is operated by Family & Children’s Services. Similar to the Sobering Center for individuals who are intoxicated, the Police One Stop will quickly connect individuals in crisis to the appropriate care.
“The reality of policing today is that the women and men of our police department our community’s de facto mental health first responders. And, they need assistance,” said city of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “This will establish a one-stop facility for our first responders to connect those in need with the best mental health professionals in this region. It will dramatically enhance the mental health services that are provided to Tulsans and people who are in crisis.”
In our current system, law enforcement officers are often the default mental health responders and must frequently decide whether to take someone in crisis to jail, emergency rooms or various mental health facilities. With a newly-constructed police entry port and added treatment beds at the existing CrisisCare Center, the Police One Stop gives officers easy access to a central facility where individuals in mental health crisis can be assessed, stabilized and connected to appropriate care in the community.
“It changes the dynamics of how we used to do things — of driving all over from one location to another attempting to find space for an individual experiencing a mental health crisis. This stops all of that,” said Chief Wendell Franklin, Tulsa Police Department. “But it will also benefit our citizens in mental health crisis. Those individuals will have a private area where officers can take them to connect with a clinician who will work to find them the proper care.”
The project is part of ongoing work by community partners to achieve the goals of the 10-Year Tulsa Regional Mental Health Plan as facilitated by Healthy Minds Policy Initiative. This includes improving life expectancy for Tulsans with mental illness, reducing unnecessary jail and emergency room admissions, and allowing police and other first responders to use their time and resources more efficiently.
“The community of Tulsa has not had a location where any person experiencing a psychological issue, addiction issue or a mental health crisis has one front door where everybody goes,” said Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges, ODMHSAS. “But through these partnerships, we will have a new front door where anyone experiencing mental health distress can come into the urgent care system and get the help and care that they need.”
The Police One Stop will immediately become a central piece of Tulsa’s Crisis Care System. By assessing individuals to determine the level of care they truly need, the facility can reduce unnecessary and expensive hospitalizations across Tulsa, divert individuals from jail when treatment is preferred, and reduce the number of hours police must travel to find mental health beds for individuals in crisis. This will improve costs and outcomes for the entire criminal justice and health care system in Tulsa.
“Mental health crisis services are a critical piece of a successful mental health system. As we know, inadequate crisis care takes a toll on community resources and can often result in human tragedy,” said Gail Lapidus, chief executive officer, Family & Children’s Services. “Now we will have a one-stop crisis center for officers, reducing the time it takes for officers to admit a client into a rapid care crisis unit. At the same time, we are expanding our CrisisCare Center capacity to provide 2,000 more people with rapid crisis care in a non-hospital environment.”
Facts about the Police One Stop Expansion
- The CrisisCare Center will grow from 14 to 19 chairs. The State of Oklahoma has applied for a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to allow mental health institutions to add additional beds. Once this waiver is approved, the CrisisCare Center will grow from 16 to 20 beds.
- The added capacity at CrisisCare Center will allow it to assess and treat an estimated 2,000 new clients a year.
- A dedicated police entry port, funded by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, has been created to facilitate rapid police access and patient privacy.
- A transportation service has been created that allows for patients to be transported from the CrisisCare Center to the appropriate facility without the use of a transporting police officer. This program is funded by federal dollars awarded to the city via INCOG on a pilot basis.
- The CrisisCare Center is available for Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and all area law enforcement agencies.