Louisville expanding an emergency mental health response service

Republished from Kentucky Lantern


LOUISVILLE — Kentucky’s largest city is expanding a program that directs certain mental health 911 calls away from police. 

Louisville’s two-year-old Crisis Call Diversion Program will begin operating 24/7 as of July 1, the mayor’s office announced Thursday. That’s an expansion from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. 

This deflection program works by triaging 911 calls to discover if the caller is having a mental health crisis and operates in all Louisville Metro Police Department divisions. MetroSafe workers, who answer 911, ask questions of callers like “are you experiencing a mental health crisis?” 

If a person has a weapon, needs medical attention or is threatening a person or themselves, they aren’t eligible for deflection-only response from a crisis triage worker (CTW). Sometimes, police and mobile crisis workers may respond together.  

Since its 2022 launch, Louisville says its program deflected around 4,000 calls with 1,500 of those this year. 

Seven Counties Services, a community mental health center, is partnering with the city on this expansion. Seven Counties will have 46 employees to work on deflection as of July 1. That includes 13 crisis triage workers and 27 mobile crisis responders, the mayor’s office said.  

“By further expanding our deflection program to operate around the clock, we’re ensuring even more people across our city will be able to benefit from these services, as well as giving our police officers more hours available to focus on violent crime,” Mayor Craig Greenberg said in a statement. “We know these additional service hours will make a difference and will help build on our progress to make Louisville a safer, stronger and healthier city for all our people.” 

LMPD Deputy Chief Steven Healey says the program “has helped our officers focus more on crime-related incidents and better allocate our resources, which in turn, assists our residents and visitors.” 

“Sometimes” Healey said, “a call simply does not warrant a police response.”

“We are honored to continue providing compassionate, equitable, and intentional care to individuals in times of crisis,” Nicole Wiseman, deflection unit manager at  Seven Counties Services, said in a statement. “This expansion of hours will help build a more resilient community for all.”

Need mental health care in Kentucky?

  • If you are in immediate crisis, text or call 988.
  • To look for a mental health therapist near you, visit: Psychology Today and search by ZIP Code.
  • Check out the Kentucky Psychological Foundation’s Behavioral Health Roadmap.
  • Find a support group through Kentucky’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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