Bal­ti­more, Howard coun­ties ex­pand men­tal health ser­vices

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD MARYLAND -

Bal­ti­more and Howard coun­ties are propos­ing to ex­pand their men­tal health ser­vices pro­vided by po­lice. Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler an­nounced plans Fri­day to ex­pand the county’s mo­bile cri­sis teams to round-the-clock avail­abil­ity. The teams, which are staffed by a po­lice of­fi­cer and men­tal health pro­fes­sional from the Af­fil­i­ated Sante Group, cur­rently op­er­ate only from 9:30 a.m. un­til 1 a.m. Mean­while, the Howard County Po­lice De­part­ment an­nounced it is ex­pand­ing its men­tal health unit from two em­ploy­ees to four. Howard County’s men­tal health unit, which will now have three po­lice of­fi­cers and one men­tal health pro­fes­sional, pro­vides track­ing and fol­low-up sup­port for sub­jects with men­tal health con­cerns who have been in con­tact with po­lice. The unit is sep­a­rate from the mo­bile cri­sis teams which re­spond to in­ci­dents as they hap­pen. The two po­lice of­fi­cer po­si­tions for the men­tal health unit are be­ing re­or­ga­nized from va­cant po­si­tions else­where in the de­part­ment. There’s no ad­di­tional cost, said Howard po­lice spokes­woman Sherry Llewellyn. In Bal­ti­more County, Mohler’s pro­posal to ex­pand cri­sis teams fol­lows a key rec­om­men­da­tion of an in­de­pen­dent re­view of how po­lice and first re­spon­ders han­dle men­tal health calls ear­lier this year.

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