Another United States city has reported the successful completion of a program that now replaces local law enforcement res-ponders with health care workers to help answer some emergency calls. Denver mental health professionals are now responding to people with mental illnesses.
Before this program, the fire department responders and the police are only allowed to answer calls. However, the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) initiative developed a third track that helps to direct emergency calls to a team: a medic and a clinician.
The STAR program was launched in June had showed good results in the first six-month progress report.
This initiative is aimed at offering a “mobile crisis response” to members of the community who are suffering from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, poverty, frustration, homelessness, and drug abuse issues.
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Denver is one of the U.S. cities looking for ways to develop an alternative emergency responder for people who are going through mental health issues.
According to reports, police officers shoot hundreds of people going through mental health issues every year. Police have shot almost 1,400 people suffering from mental illnesses since 2015, according to the database.
Denver mental health professionals got over 2,500 emergency calls for the first six months of the pilot. The STAR team could attend to 748 calls. None of these calls required police assistance and nobody was arrested.
The Police in Denver responded to almost 95,000 incidents at that same time, and they suggested that the STAR program could lead to almost a 3% decline in police calls, according to the report.