The Galveston Police Department is currently in the process of implementing a Multi-Disciplinary Response Team (MDRT). The integrated team will consist of a licensed mental health professional, a paramedic, and a police officer responding to calls for service involving someone suffering a mental health crisis.
The MDRT conducts community outreach services to prevent mental health emergencies and responds to mental health crises through the 911 system. The clinical team allows police to focus on public safety while the clinical team concentrates on addressing the mental health emergency, preferably in the community.
The model provides service options other than a hospital or a jail and a comprehensive response that recognizes that people who are in mental health crises often have multiple needs beyond the immediate mental health emergency. It is designed to be a holistic approach to address not only mental health needs but also the physical and social service needs of those affected by mental illness. The Galveston PD Initiative will be known as the COAST Team, which stands for Compassionate Open Access to Services & Treatment.
Phase 1 of this initiative kicked off on October 1st. Now when you call 9-1-1 there will be a 4th option, Police, Fire, EMS, or Mental Health Services. We then connect non-emergency calls for mental health services with a Tele-Health Professional. We will work with the Gulf Coast Center to develop a single phone number for mental health emergencies in the future.