Newport Mental Health mobile outreach teams hit the road

Coming soon to your community: a new “boots on the ground” approach to behavioral health care that will help people in crisis before they end up in an emergency room, or before they are misunderstood, arrested and become caught in the criminal justice system.

Newport Mental Health is excited to play a key role in this pilot Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT) model, which is new to Rhode Island but is modeled after a program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) developed in Eugene, Oregon , and replicated as a best practice in other parts of the country.

We are in the process of carefully hiring staff for the two mobile crisis units, one team in Newport County and one team for Bristol County/East Providence. Funding for this pilot program comes through a state BHDDH grant.

A grass roots statewide advocacy group Heal RI, which is focused on decriminalizing people with behavioral health disorders, was the impetus for getting this pilot program funded. This program is a collaborative effort of community stakeholders, parents, providers and public safety partners. This grant is funded through Horizon Healthcare Partners which operates the statewide crisis bed program BHLink and the state’s new 988 emergency call system. Newport Mental Health has been awarded the subcontract to operate two mobile response teams we expect to be fully operational in early 2023.

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