East Dallas County cities join forces on mental health response – The Dallas Morning News

City leaders from Balch Springs, Mesquite, Seagoville and Sunnyvale on Tuesday announced a major collaboration to address mental health response needs in East Dallas County.

With financial support from a $900,000 Dallas County grant, the cities have created the Southeast Alliance Community Care Team, a partnership that city leaders call a new unified approach toward public mental health response needs in all four communities, according to a press release.

The cities first announced plans to collaborate in March to address public mental health concerns.

“This team is an important step toward providing a resource for residents in our communities and changing the way we deal with residents with mental health issues,” Mesquite City Manager Cliff Keheley said Tuesday. “Each city has a need for this team. Each city needs every police officer, firefighter and dispatcher trained to work with people in a crisis.”

The team will be the first collaboration of its kind focused on providing eastern Dallas communities with proactive and reactive mental health services, a statement said.

The program is designed to check in on residents with a history of mental health issues to ensure they are receiving the treatment and services needed. According to the press release, the team will also help homeless individuals who may not have access to mental health services.

“We need to address the growing number of homeless and near-homeless people seeking help in our communities,” Keheley said.

The grant will cover the cost of a vehicle and supplies, salaries for two team members, and funding for all four cities to train every police officer, firefighter and dispatcher how to respond compassionately and appropriately to a mental health crisis.

“I would like to express my appreciation to Dallas County for the support of funding through their New Directions in Public Safety grant program,” Keheley said. “The Southeast Alliance Community Care Team would not be starting today without these financial resources.”

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2021/10/27/east-dallas-county-cities-join-forces-to-improve-mental-health-response-by-first-responders/

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