Mental Health Response / by Darryl Holliday

  1. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) should invest in a Smart911 system.
  2. OEMC should implement a 16-hour mental health awareness training.
  3. OEMC should devote attention to supporting personnel in providing compassionate and effective service to the community and implementing stress management training that complies with national standards.
  4. The Chicago Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) should partner with mental health agencies and advocacy groups to develop a two-step community education campaign on the signs of mental illness and how to best respond to a mental health or related crisis.
  5. CPD should increase the number of Crisis Intervention Team-certified officers to 35% of all patrol officers, and ensure that individual districts with the highest number of mental-health calls are staffed to 35% or higher. All districts and all watches should staff at least two CIT-certified officers.
  6. Refresher courses should be developed and provided to CIT-trained officers.
  7. CPD should attach a permanent code “z” to officer names that OEMC can always access so dispatch can assign appropriate officers to calls.
  8. The City should create a “Mental Health Critical Response Unit” within CPD that is responsible for mental health crisis response functions, training, support, community outreach and engagement, cross-agency coordination and data collection and houses the CRU.
  9. The City should create a crisis response system to support multi layer co-responder units where behavioral health providers are working with OEMC and CPD to link individuals with mental health issues to treatment, 24 hours a day.
  10. The City should expand and invest in Crisis Stabilization Units (“CSU”) for individuals suffering from symptoms of mental illness who do not need to be psychiatrically hospitalized.
  11. The City and the MHCRU should identify frequent, high-use and high-need individuals and help them get mental health treatment.
  12. The City should invest in first episode programming so that young adults experiencing their first episode of psychosis or major depression are immediately linked to intensive services to reduce progression of illness and decrease the risk of criminal justice involvement.
  13. CPD should work to decrease trauma and escalation at crime scenes by reducing the show of heavy weapons and expanding the Chicago Survivors program.