Partners in Care expansion approved by Metro Council

After a unanimous vote by Metro Council, the Partners in Care pilot program will be expanding its efforts in Metro.
911 dispatcher looking at computer monitors
911 dispatch center (WBAY file photo)(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 2:44 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Partners in Care, a one-year co-response pilot project that pairs behavioral health clinicians with Nashville police officers, will continue and expand after unanimous approval by the Metro Council Tuesday.

Metro Council agreed to a one-year contract with Mental health Cooperative for an expansion of the Partners in Care effort to new Metro Nashville Police Department precincts.

Over the past year, the Nashville-based, nonprofit behavioral health company has collaborated with MNPD and Public Health departments to jointly respond to acute mental health crises to deliver treatment and avoid arrests.

The pilot program began in the North and Hermitage precincts, with the Central Precinct added in May. The South Precinct is set to be added on Nov. 1. Officials added that a new precinct would be added every six months until the program is citywide.

“The Partners in Care crisis intervention model has been very successful in both treating those in need of mental health services and providing essential resources to first responders. We commend the mayor and Metro Council for their vision and enthusiastic support of the program,” said Amanda Bracht, a Mental Health Cooperative senior vice president. “Working hand-in-hand with law enforcement allows us to increase access to emergency care while reducing unnecessary arrests among those in medical crisis.”

Officials said during the project’s first year, police officers and clinicians responded to 1,344 calls for service that ended in arrests just 4.1 percent of the time. In addition, more than half of the calls for service were resolved with medical care, whether the person was taken to a local emergency room, inpatient hospital care, or MHC’s Crisis Treatment Center, the equivalent of a mental health ER.

To date, MHC has trained more than 100 MNPD officers and 20 supervisors in Crisis Intervention Team training as part of the co-response program. Additional training sessions are scheduled for later this year. In addition, officials added that a mental health training program for School Resource Officers (SROs) is also planned.