The 911 system was not built to promote mental or physical wellness or support the needs of those suffering a mental health crisis. EMS and Fire Department personnel find themselves responding to 911 calls that are not true medical emergencies and/or situations that could be handled by a mental health mobile crisis team or resource navigator. Community members often call 911 due to not being aware of other resources or not being able to access or utilize those resources effectively alone. Law enforcement officers also find themselves responding to these calls and are often utilized as the default responder to mental health crises. The CARES program was created not only to provide a more appropriate response to these types of calls, but also to proactively attempt to prevent the need for the initial call to be made to 911.
In 2020, Congress passed a law to make 988 the nationwide number for mental health crises and suicide prevention, operating through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 988 went live in 2022. Indiana is slowly utilizing the launch of 988 to invest in a broader, more advanced, mental health crisis response system. The three elements of the system being built include 24/7 mental health crisis call centers, mobile crisis teams, and crisis stabilization units and programs.
The CARES program strives to enhance the crisis response system in the City of Warsaw, ensuring that each member of the community can count on a person-centered, individualized, and trauma-informed response to mental health crises and situations for themselves and/or their loved ones, prioritizing the safety of all involved.
CARES also strives to bridge together community resources and services, serving as a safety net program for any community members who may be falling through the cracks of care.
- Reduction in EMS and Fire Department personnel responding to calls due to mental health reasons or lack of resources
- Reduction in Emergency Department Use for situations that are not a physical health emergency
- Reduction in inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations and usage of the least restrictive intervention possible
- Reduction in overdose deaths
- Increase in substance use services utilized
- Increased diversion from the criminal justice system to rehabilitating services
- Increased use of behavioral health services
- Increased access to behavioral health services in historically underserved populations
- Decreased use of law enforcement to address behavioral health needs
- Reduction in suicide attempts and death
- Decrease the amount of time from a crisis occurring to intake into services
- Decrease community members being “passed around” when in need of services