Behavioral Health Response Team 2022 Annual Report

An interactive publication of the 2022 Annual Report for the Behavioral Health Response Team.

report 2022

Behavioral Health Response Team OFFICE OF COMMUNITY SAFETY


How It Works BHRT crisis counselors partner with Greensboro Police Department (GPD) specially-trained officers to respond to emergency calls where mental health expertise is needed. Officers make sure the scene is safe and provide guidance around legal statutes and processes while counselors provide expertise in de-escalation techniques, assessing suicidal or homicidal risk, and treatment options. Any GPD officers may also refer residents in need to BHRT for resources and support, including access to medical care and prescriptions, mental health treatment, or information about food pantries, shelters, and more. Following up with individuals post-crisis is a key focus of BHRT. The team often needs to meet with a person more than one time to ensure they receive appropriate help. BHRT’s community outreach coordinator assists with following up on GPD referrals. BHRT operates Monday through Friday, 8 am to 10 pm. Counselors are also available to GPD officers by phone after hours.

About the Behavioral Health Response Team Created in December 2020, the City of Greensboro’s Behavioral Health Response Team (BHRT) strives to help individuals in crisis access appropriate mental and behavioral health treatment options. The team works to reduce future 9-1-1 calls by linking clients to local resources and support. Each year Guilford Metro 9-1-1 receives thousands of mental health crisis calls. Before BHRT was created, law enforcement officials had to respond because there wasn’t another option. Those in need could end up hospitalized or taken into police custody. Greensboro is now one of the first

cities nationwide to ensure trained specialists are available to meet mental health needs.

More than anything, we want the community to know that they can trust us when they call 9-1-1. We are passionate about this work and want to support each individual the best we can. – Erin Williams Lead BHRT Mental Health Clinician

STAFF MAKEUP • 8 Police Officers, including the BHRT corporal and sergeant • 7 Clinicians, including a team lead • 1 Outreach Coordinator • 1 Paramedic

• Three are fully licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors. • Two are provisionally licensed Clinical Social Work Associates. • One counselor is also a dually CREDENTIALS Of the team’s seven clinicians:

licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate.

2022 team

• Two have master’s degrees in related fields and are pursuing licensure in the future.

client testimonials Respecting Individuals in Crisis BHRT supported Kettly Toussaint and her family while her son, Chandler, battled mental illness. “Your professionalism, patience, courtesy, and attentiveness to our loved one as well as our needs are greatly appreciated,”Toussaint wrote to BHRT. “Without you and your team, we would not have had the guidance or the resources needed for our loved one.” In the summer, Chandler was regularly calling 911 for assistance. BHRT was dispatched to provide supportive services, both during the mental health emergency and through follow-up calls.

The Behavioral Health Response Team has saved my mother from harm and definitely from living on the streets. – Kim R.

Providing Critical Resources In early 2021, a friend reached Kim R. with some difficult news. Her estranged mother was dealing with a mental health crisis or age-related dementia – and facing eviction after repeatedly calling City police, fire, and code inspectors to make unfounded complaints about a neighbor. At Kim’s request, BHRT stepped in to help. The team became a way for her mother to ask for assistance rather than calling 911 and other emergency services. BHRT also helped her mother find another living arrangement, access rental assistance, and reach other resources like a food pantry and senior services. Kim said BHRT team members Erin Williams and Kevin Brooks advocated for her mother to get neurological psychological testing and ensured she did not cause harm to herself or others by petitioning the court for an involuntary hospital stay and services. Kim is now seeking guardianship to ensure her mother is safe. “I am forever grateful for the Behavioral Health Response Team,” Kim said. “The Behavioral Health Response Team has saved my mother from harm and definitely from living on the streets, and has given me hope that there is a pathway forward for her to have a better living situation and care.”

Without you and your team, we would not have had the guidance or the resources needed for our loved one. – Kettly Toussaint

Toussaint said the officers treated her son with respect and dignity, honored his requests for specific care, and participated in conference calls with other agencies to ensure he received needed resources. BHRT team member Kevin Brooks also followed up to encourage family members to take care of their personal health and wellbeing while supporting Chandler. “We think every police department in the entire United States of America should use Greensboro as a guide, a blueprint on how to assist people with mental illness while showing respect and allowing them and their families to keep their dignity,” Toussaint said.

BHRT arrived and were able to quickly connect with my husband and calm him down so that he felt safe and heard.

Supporting Caregivers “Crisis Counselor Dewey Mullis and the Behavioral Health Team have been a life-saver for me and my family while dealing with my late husband’s illness,” said one local client, who asked her name be withheld. “I needed help to calm him down so that he would not hurt himself or me.” Her husband was diagnosed with dementia, which caused him to become disoriented, have an altered mental state, and sometimes become aggressive. “During one of those episodes, Dewey and his partner from the BHRT arrived and were able to quickly connect with my husband and calm him down so that he felt safe and heard. After a visit with Dewey, he would take his

– Name withheld

medication and I was able to get him to rest for the night, which meant that I was able to rest so that I could continue to care for my husband,” she said. Mullis also connected the family with other resources and helped her husband to stay at home, instead of entering an assisted-living facility.

numbers by the

people served



701 435

645 564

2,357 * 1,220 Mental Health Calls People BHRT Contacted or Attempted to Contact





4 7

Other/Unknown Gender Identity

23 14 25 10




1,050 AGES

Other/ Unknown Bi-/Multi racial





166 Individuals served were unsheltered or living in temporary housing

Hours of Follow-Up Work

*Data reflects calls coded as mental health calls. It does not reflect all the calls where BHRT was present.

BHRT Adds Medical Services In August, BHRT added a community health paramedic to the team with financial support from the state Support Team Assisted Response Grant the Greensboro Police Department received.

Included in the state budget adopted in July, the $330,000 grant allows the team to provide a counselor, police officer, and paramedic to jointly respond to mental health crises. The grant was part of a wider effort by the state to address increased behavioral health needs spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team’s first paramedic is Billie Silvera, a medic with Guilford County Emergency Medical Services Division who has an extensive history serving patients with behavioral health and developmental disabilities. BHRT now can triage crisis situations from a legal, mental health, and medical perspective.

New Team Oversight This year has been a time of change and transition for BHRT. The counselors on the team were originally managed under the City of Greensboro’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. In the fall of 2022, the counselors moved under the newly created Office of Community Safety, which will house a variety of teams dealing with larger community-facing safety work.

• For an urgent crisis, call 9-1-1 and request they send BHRT. Note that BHRT response is dependent on team availability. How to Receive BHRT Services

• Ask a Greensboro Police Officer to refer you to BHRT.

• Visit Police Headquarters at 100 Police Plaza and ask to speak to a BHRT counselor.

Behavioral Health Response Team OFFICE OF COMMUNITY SAFETY

OPERATING HOURS Monday through Friday 8 am to 10 pm


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