Sep 28, 2022 - News

More emergency mental health services for Chicago

Photo of first responders sitting around a table.

Members of Chicago's Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement team. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

We wrote about promising new pilot programs last week that dispatch mental health professionals to emergency situations, often without police involvement.

  • But we also noted their limited hours and geographic reach.

Driving the news: We heard from you about additional local services, including:

  • Behavioral health nonprofit Trilogy offers a First-response Alternative Crisis Team (FACT) program 24/7 in Rogers Park, Edgewater, West Ridge, Uptown, Evanston and Skokie through 1-800-FACT-400. Trilogy says it responded to 200 calls from April to June and 96% did not require 911 involvement.
  • The Mobile Crisis Response Team, run by nonprofit Thresholds, announced it's expanding to 24-hour weekday service starting Oct. 3 and 24/7 service by November. But the program is still only for ZIP codes 60657, 60640 and 60613.

The intrigue: Reader Ina P. tells us that she recently had success calling 311 about a situation in an Uptown park.

  • "A very nice, gentle person arrived in a regular car" and worked with the patient to get help.

The big picture: Even with the current patchwork coverage, these programs have shown real potential to address behavioral health crises while freeing up police for other matters.

What's next: City officials tell Axios they're working to streamline the process so that 911 and 988 calls can be routed to services across the network by year-end.

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