The new Tallahassee Emergency Assessment Mobile Unit (TEAM) is actively responding to non-violent 9-1-1 calls for service with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The pilot program was approved last fall as the City Commission voted to implement special mental health initiatives in response to an emergent mental health need during the COVID-19 pandemic and other critical public safety incidents.
City staff from the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD), Consolidated Dispatch Agency (CDA) and Housing & Community Resilience department have been working with The Apalachee Center to develop the framework of a pilot mental health crisis response unit for several months. Initiatives like TEAM are designed to advance the City’s long-term strategic priority of building a safe, resilient and inclusive community through proactive, community-based solutions that enhance public safety.
“We know that many people in our community are struggling with mental health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this innovative City program, TPD and TFD provide specialized support to members of our community in need. Engaging the TEAM after a non-violent mental health crisis call comes in to the CDA ensures that we connect highly skilled first responders and mental health professionals with residents in crisis,” Mayor John Dailey said.
The TEAM, which began responding to calls on March 29, consists of a licensed mental health professional, a TFD Paramedic or EMT and a Crisis Intervention Team trained TPD officer. Each year, the City takes approximately 2,300 non-violent calls for mental-health related help. Within an hour of activation, the TEAM received its first call.
“This groundbreaking partnership allows a coordinated, real-time response to mental health emergencies and ensures that individuals undergoing mental health crises have immediate access to trained, master’s level counselors who are at the scene, along with law enforcement and trained medical personnel. This partnership between City services and Apalachee Center mental health experts is transforming the emergency mental health response system in Tallahassee,” Dr. Jay Reeve, CEO of The Apalachee Center, said.
The TEAM is stationed at Fire Station 1 in downtown Tallahassee and is equipped to provide immediate medical and/or psychological stabilization, as well as on site assessment and referral for additional services beyond the initial incident.
With continued success, the pilot TEAM program could evolve into a 24/7 response unit and expand to engage additional human service partners that are able to provide services during the time of response or conduct proactive outreach to vulnerable communities to mitigate crisis situations.
To learn more about the TEAM and other human services programs delivered by the City, visit Talgov.com/HumanServices.