By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) — The city of Minneapolis announced Monday the official launch of the behavioral crisis response team’s pilot project. The team was created by the city to have a trained group of people address mental health emergencies.

The Office of Performance and Innovation says teams will provide crisis intervention and counseling to people in crisis and connection to support services.

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Two mobile units will operate throughout Minneapolis from 7:30 a.m. to midnight during the weekdays, and eventually have services run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said the release.

“The bcr program will allow the street outreach teams to more effectively support clients. It will give community members more options and renewed confidence in being able to support one another, and of course, it will provide support and safety to those in crisis,” said Erika Ohles, St. Stephen’s services outreach team lead.

Each vehicle will have a team of two behavioral responders and outreach supplies, such as water, socks, snacks and toiletries, said the release. Responders will be dispatched by Minneapolis 911.

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The release says people having a behavioral crisis or reporting one should still call 911 for help. 911 dispatchers will gather information and determine if incident calls for a mobile behavioral health team response.

“By using a design process that requires all solutions to problems be co-built with residents, who are also the end-users, we are confident that we are now providing another alternative police response that will be trusted, impactful and supported by the people that need these services,” said Brian Smith, interim director of Strategic Management and director of the Office of Performance and Innovation.

To learn more about the pilot project, visit the city’s website.

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Marielle Mohs