How one city in Texas integrated mental health response into 911 dispatch systems

  • Source: GCN
  • Published: 06/29/2022 12:00 AM

Each year, the Austin, Texas, Police Department (APD) call center diverts more than 80% of its calls to mental health clinicians, freeing police officers to focus on “hot calls,” such as life-threatening situations and robberies in progress. Since 2019, Integral Care, the city’s Local Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority, has been integrated into APD’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. This means that when APD operators take a 911 call, they ask if the caller needs police, fire, emergency medical services (EMS) or mental health response. “They do their initial triage, and then depending on what information they’re taking in, they have the ability to within the CAD system to transfer to the most appropriate first responder system or our clinicians,” said Marisa Aguilar, crisis services administrator at Integral Care.


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