Boston is launching a new pilot program that focuses on responding to mental health emergencies with specially-trained personnel instead of police officers. The program was developed by the City’s Mental Health Crisis Response Working Group over the course of 15 weeks and announced Thursday afternoon by Mayor Kim Janey.
“We must recognize that while issues of violent and public safety need a police response, mental health crises are a public health concern that needs a public health response,” Janey said. “In April I asked the Boston Police Department and Office of Health and Human Services to devise a plan that would amplify the role of mental health workers and reduce the role of police officers in response to mental health crises.”
With $1.75 million in funding from the Health and Human Services Cabinet’s 2022 fiscal year budget, Janey said the pilot program will examine three models for responding to 911 calls about mental health emergencies.