Building comprehensive crisis prevention and response systems

Choosing the Right Data Strategy for Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Initiatives (NEW)

Collecting data and evaluating programs should be a critical element of all criminal justice and behavioral health initiatives. However, the data collection process can be overwhelming and unclear. Programs need to determine what data to collect, how often, and how to use them to assess impacts, set goals, and make improvements. This brief will help project coordinators and research partners working with government entities or nonprofit agencies identify, collect, and prioritize the appropriate data as well as provide recommended metrics for behavioral health and criminal justice-related programs.

A Matter of Public Health and Safety: How States Can Support Local Crisis Systems

By The CSG Justice Center

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated deep-rooted systemic problems related to inequitable access to necessary care and services to address—and prevent—mental health crises in communities. Taking an intentional approach to creating and advancing local crisis care systems can help mitigate these situations, as building local crisis systems has proved to be successful and cost-effective. This brief details five actions state policymakers can take to fund and sustain local crisis systems and provides case examples of how local crisis systems in two jurisdictions have achieved cost savings and positive outcomes.

Building a Comprehensive and Coordinated Crisis System

By The CSG Justice Center

Across the nation, communities are grappling with how to respond to crisis calls, particularly ones involving people with behavioral health needs. As they work to build and expand their crisis systems, communities are also looking to expand beyond typical police responses to include mental health professionals and other community responders. This brief highlights the continuum of responses that make up a comprehensive, coordinated crisis system and offers guidance for building a system that addresses local needs.

Police-Mental Health Collaborations: A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs

By The CSG Justice Center

Increasingly, law enforcement officers are called on to be the first, and often the only, responders to calls involving people who have mental health needs. To begin tackling that challenge, the CSG Justice Center released a framework to help law enforcement agencies across the country better respond to the growing number of calls for service they receive involving this population.

CrisisNow Website

Crisis Now is a Partnership led by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and RI International. This website features resources that aim to provide communities with a roadmap to safe, effective crisis care that diverts people in distress from the emergency department and jail by developing a continuum of crisis care services that match people’s clinical needs.

Roadmap to the Ideal Crisis System

By the Committee on Psychiatry and the Community for the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry and published by the National Council for Behavioral Health

This 200-page report provides a detailed guide for communities to create a vision and direction for their behavioral health crisis systems; to evaluate their current behavioral health crisis capacities; and to operationalize a strategy for implementing structures, services, and processes that move toward the ideal crisis system.

Emergency Response Crisis Stabilization: Cities Leading the Way

By National League of Cities

This 16-page brief from NLC draws from the experiences of 9 cities to highlight how they overcame common challenges in establishing innovative emergency response and/or crisis stabilization approaches. The challenges profiled include obtaining funding, addressing social determinants of health, overcoming stigma, data collection and analysis, and developing facilities and workforce. NLC produced 2 additional briefs—Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Homelessness: Advancing Coordinated Solutions through Local Leadership and Working Across Systems for Better Results: City Efforts to Address Mental Health, Substance Use, and Homelessness Through Emergency Response and Crisis Stabilization—that can be found here.

Cops, Clinicians, or Both? Collaborative Approaches to Responding to Behavioral Health Emergencies

By National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors

This 21-page policy paper reviews best practices for law enforcement crisis response and describes programs that provide alternatives to law enforcement involvement and emergency department utilization. The paper argues that jurisdictions should take a “systems approach” to crisis response, focusing on how an array of programs and services work together as a coordinated system to achieve common goals. The paper also explores specific considerations for crisis response services and systems, including financing, data management, and stakeholder engagement.

National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care Best Practice Toolkit

By The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This 80-page toolkit is intended to help mental health authorities, agency administrators, service providers, and state and local leaders think through and develop crisis systems that meet their communities’ needs. It addresses topics including assessing the adequacy of your system’s capacity, identifying funding sources, ensuring the availability of sufficient numbers of appropriately credentialed and trained staff, monitoring system and provider performance, implementing continuous quality improvement approaches, and marketing and communications.