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City of Tulsa launches mental health response team for 911 calls

Posted at 5:18 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2021-04-27 13:29:05-04

TULSA, Okla.  — Mental health experts are joining the 911 dispatch team for the City of Tulsa.

In a statement, the Tulsa Police Department announced Wednesday the City of Tulsa 911 Mental Health Collaborative is a new initiative that launched Sept. 3. Mental health crisis experts on the dispatch team will handle non-emergent, mental health-related calls, officials said.

The initiative is designed after the Harris County 911 Center in Houston, TX. Since 2015, officials said the model reduced costs and decreased non-emergency mental health-related calls for Houston’s first responders.

Partnering with Family & Children’s Services and having immediate access to mental health professionals gives 911 dispatchers and first responders the ability to provide additional resources and aid to help the community.
Belinda McGhie, City of Tulsa 911 PSC systems manager

The initiative's partners include the City of Tulsa 911 Public Safety Communications (PSC), Tulsa Police, Family & Children’s Services Community Outreach Psychiatric Services (COPES) and the Tulsa Area United Way.

COPES, the local provider for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is Tulsa’s crisis service for children and adults experiencing a mental health crisis.

“Most people don’t know where to go for help, and they call 911. Through this collaborative, we will be able to address the immediate mental health crisis and connect callers to ongoing mental health services," said Amanda Bradley, COPES senior program director. "COPES will perform follow ups to check on an individual’s well-being, connect them with resources and provide support during the crisis resolution phase. Without COPES involvement, there would be no other contact made after the 911 call."

For more information about COPES, call 918-744-4800 or click here.

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