Partnerships help police identify those in need of mental health services


ST. LOUIS – Centerstone counselor Regina Plummer has been working with the Alton Police Department for about a year. A grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services has been renewed allowing her work to continue until at least July, according to Plummer.

“I go through all of the 911 calls that come through for the police department and I have a tracking spreadsheet,” she said. “I add anything that is mental health related to the tracking spreadsheet and I follow up by phone with these people.”

The partnership has a similar goal to a City of St. Louis program we reported on in October. That program is expected to start this month.

Plummer said by providing mental health services, some individuals can avoid repeat run-ins with police or future problems.

“It’s like a long-term solution versus an immediate fix,” she said. 

Some cases include individuals who need medication, those who are feeling suicidal and individuals who call 911 repeatedly. 

Plummer believes the program can also help eliminate some of the stigma attached to mental health issues and allow police to focus on responding to issues they’ve been thoroughly trained to handle.

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