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Grant to allow Cedar Rapids agencies to collaborate on mental health issues

October 10, 2017
Foundation 2 is pleased to be part of a new grant which helps to divert those experiencing mental health issues from jail.  Read more about this project from the Cedar Rapids Gazette here or from the story pasted below.

Lee Hermiston

The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Police Department and Foundation 2 will be partnering with the goal of diverting those experiencing mental health issues from jail, thanks to a federal grant.

The police department announced on Tuesday it is the recipient of a $71,182 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The program seeks to facilitate collaboration between the criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse treatment systems.

The police department said the grant will be used to fund training, travel and some Foundation 2 staff time. Foundation 2 serves roughly 500,000 people with its Mobile Crisis Outreach team, which has been in operation since 2003. The team has seen a more than 400 percent increase in dispatches in the last three years, according to public safety spokesman Greg Buelow.

Buelow said the team strives to divert those experiencing mental health issues from unnecessary hospitalization or interaction with police.

As part of the collaboration, Foundation 2 plans to hire a law enforcement liaison who would work with the police department and respond to calls for service involving those with a mental health crisis.

“Foundation 2 is excited to begin partnering with the Cedar Rapids Police Department to better meet the needs of individuals in the community who have a mental health diagnosis or co-occurring disorder,” Sarah Nelson-Miller, Director of Operations at Foundation 2, said in a statement. “We are excited to begin an innovative process that will bring together law enforcement and mental health professionals for shared outcomes that will have a positive and lasting impact on our community.”

Other goals for the collaboration include diverting those with a serious mental health illness from jail by receiving an on-site intervention and creating a strategic planning committee that will evaluated “policies, programs and services” in the community in order to identify how police and mental health care providers can better reach those with a mental health diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, Beulow said.

“The Police Department is committed to developing partnerships that improve the quality of life for citizens in Cedar Rapids,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said in a statement. “As first responders, police officers have frequent contact with individuals who struggle with mental health crisis. We look forward to working with Foundation 2 to create long-term road map for future collaboration between law enforcement and mental health professionals in the greater Cedar Rapids area.”


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