The Bloomington, Minnesota Police Department is launching a pilot mental health program that provides immediate in-home therapy for people in crisis, Kiya Edwards reports for KARE11. The Innovative Mental Health Rapid Response Program will provide two licensed marriage and family counselors, and eight St. Mary’s University grad students who they supervise, who will travel to people’s homes and provide 40 mental health services appointments per week at no cost to the client.
The program is strictly referral based, meaning that those seeking mental health support will need to be referred by the police department or its partners such as Bloomington Public Schools. Once referred, clients can see a provider for up to 10 weeks. State opioid settlement funds and state public safety aid funds are covering the $63,000 program cost. Bloomington Police chief Booker Hodges says benchmarks to determine whether the program is effective would be fewer opioid overdoses and fewer of the same people calling police multiple times for mental health crises. The department reports there were 1,115 mental health crisis calls last year.