Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

Back in February, Los Angeles piloted a program which diverts mental crisis 911 calls from police departments to certified mental health providers. The concept was implemented on a trial, eight-hour a day basis, but after overwhelmingly positive results, the city is expanding the service to a permanent 24-hour program.

The initiative is the first attempt by the city to divert mental health situations, such as suicide calls, away from armed officers. The program is a collaboration with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, which operates the crisis line, and since February, 424 calls have been diverted from the 911 line. 51 callers were contacted with necessary follow up services.

911 operators report that many ‘after-hours’ calls were not rerouted to the mental health line because of the limited operational hours, but officials are confident that the expanded hours will benefit even more residents experiencing suicidal thoughts or emotional distress.

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