Project Term: 24 months; 2020-2022
Grant Amount: $100,000
The Missoula community will develop a crisis diversion program by redesigning the behavioral health crisis system. A crisis diversion program can help reduce emergency department admissions, criminal justice encounters, and recidivism. Too often, people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis end up in the emergency department or in encounters with law enforcement, rather than receiving appropriate care. Providing behavioral health care to people in crisis can de-escalate the crisis, improve outcomes, and reduce the need for higher-cost emergency and law enforcement interventions. Partnership Health Center will serve as the backbone organization, providing project oversight and coordination. Project partners include Providence Health System, Community Medical Center, Western Montana Mental Health Center, Missoula Urban Indian Alliance, and the Missoula Mayor and County Sheriff. The group’s work will be guided by a formal charter that establishes shared goals and expectations. Grant funds will be used to employ a project coordinator and contract for data analytics and sharing among partners. The project will begin by assessing how current health care and corrections resources are used to respond to people in a behavioral health crisis. Guided by the findings and informed by research on best practices, the partners will then develop and implement a new crisis diversion system that uses existing resources more efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of people in crisis.