Atlanta, Fulton County Provide Help for Mental Health Crisis

The City of Atlanta announced a collaboration with Fulton County Justice and Mental Health Task Force leaders and other local agencies to ensure all city residents have access to behavioral and mental health services, especially when in crisis.

“Mental health affects communities across Atlanta,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Given the uncertainty and stressors of the last year, it is more important than ever that we reach those suffering before it is too late. This partnership will help us quickly and effectively serve those who are struggling.”

Law enforcement has been the default response to all 911 calls for service, including incidents involving individuals experiencing crises related to behavioral health disorders and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. To truly achieve the vision of reducing unnecessary detention for Atlantans, it is critical to have a robust crisis system of care and diversionary strategies to provide support and ensure public safety.

The City will engage with experts through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to build a Competent Crisis Care System at Intercepts 0-1 Community of Practice (CoP), facilitated by the Policy Research Associates.

Through participation in this CoP, the City will work with the following partner organizations to develop a community-wide plan to reimagine the crisis system of care and to develop additional responses and infrastructure for behavioral health emergencies:

  • Fulton County Courts
  • Grady Health System
  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Georgia Crisis and Access Line
  • Behavioral Health Link
  • Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network
  • Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative
  • Partners for Home
  • Emory University School of Medicine

In addition to the CoP, the City and the Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative (PAD) have partnered together to allow citizens in Zone 4, 5 and 6 to make referrals to ATL311 for non-emergency quality of life concerns related to mental health, substance use or extreme poverty. Referral services will be expanded across all zones in June 2021.

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