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3 Tips for Implementing A Successful Co-Responder Program

Having police officers arrive at the scene of a mental health crisis is a little like having a delivery person arrive without the pizza. Implementing a Co-Responder Program allows municipalities to better serve the public when individuals need help from mental health professionals. Here are three first steps to implementing such a program successfully.

1. Develop Partnerships with Other Agencies

Create relationships with local mental health service providers. Agree to share information regarding procedures for working with each other. Engage local advocates for mental health services to speak to the public about the cooperation between the groups. Ensure that people who have mental health issues and caregivers of people with these issues are present to inform the policies.

2. Document the Policies and Procedures

Working with the local health and social service organizations, develop a mission statement, vision, and goals for the program. Create policies and procedures that encompass all scenarios to be addressed by the partnership. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each agency (the law enforcement agency and all health or social agencies). 

3. Take Inventory of Community Needs

Determine which types of calls will necessitate use of the co-responder program. Ascertain which assessments and services the team will provide to members of the public.

These are just three first steps to creating and implementing a successful co-responder program.