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Anchorage Police Department
Saturday November 21st, 2020 :: 12:00 p.m. AKST

Community

ICYMI: Assembly funds Mobile Crisis Team responding to mental health crisis calls

Earlier this week the Anchorage Assembly announced funding for the Mobile Crisis Team who will be responding to mental health crisis calls.
 
“This is an important step forward for our community in meeting the needs of those in crisis,” said Deputy Chief Kenneth McCoy with the Anchorage Police Department. “We intently studied communities in the Lower 48 who were using the Mobile Crisis Team model and are pleased to see this first step in addressing the need.”
 
From the Anchorage Assembly:
Assembly Members Meg Zaletel, Christopher Constant and Forrest Dunbar are pleased to announce the funding of a Mobile Crisis Team, beginning in 2021, using revenues from the newly adopted alcohol tax. The Mobile Crisis Team, a group of mental health first responders housed in the Anchorage Fire Department, will provide a much needed service in the Municipality of Anchorage’s emergency response system. The MCT will be a specialized first responder asset serving Anchorage residents in crisis, and will relieve the burden of responding to more than 7300 calls for service per year for mental health crisis currently shouldered by Anchorage Police Department.
 
"Not only does the MCT fill a much needed service gap that will improve outcomes for Anchorage residents, it also relieves from APD the burden of responding to so many calls when the need is actually for a clinician and someone trained to stabilize the situation from a behavioral health point of view," state Assembly Member Zaletel.
 
Jason Lessard, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Alaska, adds, "We are thankful to the Assembly for taking this much needed step to change the way our community responds to behavioral health crises. As we have seen proven in other communities in the Lower 48, a shift from a law enforcement-based response to behavioral health related calls to that of a Mobile Crisis Team model has yielded, most importantly, better outcomes for individuals in crisis, but has also resulted in better utilization of community resources and the associated cost savings that come with that."
 
Assembly Members Zaletel, Constant and Dunbar are grateful to the Anchorage Fire Department's leadership and their recognition of the need in our community, as well as their willingness to step into this critical role. They also want to recognize the leadership role played by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Anchorage Police Department Deputy Chief Kenneth McCoy, who championed the idea of mental health first responders within the Municipality, as well as Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson, who was a co-sponsor while on the Assembly, and the Administration’s collaboration in bringing about this innovation for Anchorage.
 
Finally, this crucial step forward for public safety and mental health would not be possible without the the people of Anchorage, who approved an alcohol tax to fund these services in April of 2020.
 

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