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Milwaukee County Mental Health Board Approves $500,000 Expansion for Crisis Assessment and Response Team

The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office partner to offer community-based mental health services

The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board approved the request for the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD) to allocate $500,000 of its reserves to enter into a partnership with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to create a county Crisis Assessment and Response Team (CART). The CART would pair BHD mental health clinicians with law enforcement officers to respond to situations when an individual calls 9-1-1 and asks for mental health services or identifies that mental health symptoms may be present.

“Keeping residents safe means offering services that treat the holistic needs of the individual. When it comes to mental health needs, residents deserve to have trained clinicians respond in times of crisis,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “This collaborative partnership focuses on increasing public safety through thoughtful collaboration to bring more resources to those who have been historically underserved and unable to access the mental health services they need.”

BHD will support the initial program funding with three MCSO deputies and two BHD clinicians by Fall 2020. The team will provide CART coverage to all of Milwaukee County 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We look forward to expanding our partnership with BHD and creating an even greater impact by serving individuals experiencing mental health challenges in our community,” said Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas. “The need for community-based mental health services is significant and we’ve seen the proven success of this model locally and nationally.”

Since 2013, BHD has partnered with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) to support and fund a CART serving the city of Milwaukee. The BHD and MPD CART data shows that 80 percent of the time, CART is able to provide an outcome that does not result in an Emergency Detention. Since the clinician on the CART has access to the BHD electronic health record, they can connect individuals to resources and treatment in the community such as Community Support Programs, Targeted Case Management, or crisis case management services to meet the whole-person’s needs. As Milwaukee County recognizes Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 6-12, this partnership will provide community members experiencing a crisis direct access to the necessary care and resources.

“Milwaukee County is focusing on bridging the gap in racial health disparities by making it easier to access services that meet the needs of our residents,” said Shakita LaGrant-McClain, Interim Director, Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services. “The partnership with MCSO is a great example of county resources working together and investing in our residents and communities so that everyone can thrive.”

As the BHD transitions into more community-based care, partnerships such as the expansion of the CART will address mental health and substance use disorder needs in a more effective and preventative way.

About the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division

The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division provides care and treatment to adults, children, and adolescents with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual disabilities through both County-operated programs and contracts with community agencies. Services include intensive short-term treatment through our crisis services and inpatient services, as well as a full array of supportive community services for persons with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.


(414) 278-4211 | fax: (414) 223-1375
Milwaukee County Courthouse, Room 306
901 N. 9th Street | Milwaukee, WI 53233

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