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Tropical Texas Behavioral Health, in partnership with the Edinburg Police Department, announced on Monday that they’ve received a $3 million award in order to create a Mental Health Crisis Response Unit.
The award comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will be used to form a team of law enforcement officers and behavioral health professionals that will respond to situations involving people with mental illness.
“This award represents a big win for the RGV and magnifies the effective partnership between Tropical Texas and the Edinburg PD, having faced tough competition and being one of only twelve recipients nationally,” a press release stated.
This team will respond to calls that may involve persons with mental health conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
“The goal of the program is to serve over 500 individuals annually using a ride-along model that deploys a qualified mental health professional with specially trained police officers to provide immediate mental health screening, assessment, and brief intensive intervention services in the community as part of the initial emergency response,” the release said.
In addition, the program aims to increase the number of Mobile Crisis Outreach teams while expanding access to mental health services in “high-need” communities.
Tropical Texas Behavioral Health said it believes the combined skills of the mental health professionals and officers could improve the safety and effectiveness of crisis stabilization within the community as well as equity through post-crisis follow-ups.
“I believe that our collaborative efforts through this grant will not only achieve but surpass the objectives we set forth,” Edinburg Police Chief Jaime Ayala stated in the release. “Our primary focus is to provide an effective and compassionate response to the citizens of Edinburg who are facing mental health crises.
“Together, we will pave the way for a brighter future, ensuring the well-being and dignity of every individual we serve.”