IMPD calling on mental health crisis assistance teams more often, data shows

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INDIANAPOLIS — We know people are hurting, and the number of calls IMPD’s Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) is responding to illustrates that. Beat officers call on this unit when people are in need of immediate mental health services.

IMPD provided data comparing 2020 to the first five months of 2021. In all of 2020, 31% of the calls the MCAT responded to involved a person suffering with suicidal ideation or thoughts. So far in 2021, 39% of their calls have involved someone experiencing these challenges.

“It’s not necessarily more or less calls, it’s just the type of calls, the suicide topic has been pretty prevalent over the last few months with COVID,” Sgt. Lance Dardeen said.

Beat officers are also calling on this special unit more frequently. In 2020, the data shows beat officers responded to the scene and called on MCAT to respond in 46% of calls. So far in 2021, about 52% of calls include other officers calling the MCAT unit.

“As of now, from May 6, it is up 6% so I’m glad that we’re able to be here and I’m glad that we’re able to help and again, have that clinician with us from the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center,” Dardeen said.

IMPD and an Eskenazi clinician respond to scenes together through this partnership.

“The MCAT officer is there, they’re there, but the clinician doing the assessment, they’re rolling with it, and if the clinician needs assistance for safety, then that officer is there,” Jennifer Cianelli, Clinical Supervisor of Mobile Crisis Teams at the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, said.

While not every call involves an offense that could require an arrest, IMPD said 96% of calls are resolved without anyone’s arrests.

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