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Collaborative Crisis Response and Intervention Training Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $250,000)

The City of Memphis Crisis Assessment and Response to Emergencies (CARE) Team is a community-based approach to crisis response that relies on paramedics to provide rapid response to behavioral health crises, administer immediate medical attention, and divert eligible individuals to behavioral health services. Specifically, this program promotes effective strategies by firefighter paramedics, law enforcement, and social workers to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with mental health concerns who encounter law enforcement and improve public safety.

CARE was placed into service in 2018 and is a collaborative partnership between Memphis Fire Department (MFD), the Memphis Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (MPD-CIT), and Alliance Healthcare Services. CARE provides a multidisciplinary response to complex behavioral health emergencies such as suicide attempts and mental health crises. The team comprises a specially trained MFD community paramedic, a CIT police officer, and a master’s level mental health assessor. This approach is more holistic than that found in the traditional law enforcement response and provides for more targeted navigation of patients into appropriate services. The team’s goal is to provide the best outcome for the patient while avoiding an unnecessary emergency department visit or criminal charges which lead to jail time.

As CARE evolves to continue to meet the needs of those most vulnerable in the Memphis community, a full program assessment is needed to determine how best to strengthen the collaboration among these groups and dedicate personnel to MPD's partnering agencies. The University of Memphis School of Social Work is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary resources and support for the proposed project. The University of Memphis is a well-known partner within the community with a long-standing focus on community-based work. More specifically, Dr. Hirschi from the School of Social Work brings skills and expertise as a social worker and evaluator to the project. In addition, a student from the University of Memphis will also be hired to assist with data collection, cleaning, and reporting as part of the project.
Research shows that a priority area for funding does exist, although we will not know the full scope until the results of the analysis have been determined. At that time, we plan to institute an award program to motivate positive steps towards behavioral health awareness. The Memphis Police Department has not been the previous recipient of federal funding to implement CRIT.

Date Created: September 18, 2023