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This Clinician Will Help Connect Residents With Mental Health Resources as Part of OPD's Community Response Teams

Photo: Crystal Raullerson
Photo: Crystal Raullerson

The Orlando Police Department is rolling out its Community Response Teams this weekend to respond to residents experiencing mental health crises.

The teams of two consist of mental health clinicians and case managers from Aspire Health Partners.

Teams will be dispatched by the Orlando Police Department to respond to nonviolent calls for help from residents who are suicidal or struggling with addiction. 

Team member and Aspire mental health clinician Crystal Raullerson says they’ll arrive in a marked vehicle and begin with a health assessment.

She says from there, they’ll proceed with either a Baker Act or a referral for mental health care services.

“Sometimes they need just support they need someone to talk to. They need to be linked to community resources. And that’s what we’re going to do as well.”

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Raullerson says teams will also check back in with residents they meet on calls to ensure they receive follow-up care.

OPD Captain Lovetta Quinn-Henry leads the initiative. She says she knows these teams will save lives.

“And it’s going to you know obviously give them a connection to some of the social services that’s out there. So I feel like the benefit is even if we save one, that’s a huge benefit. Because that’s one other person that we’ve absolutely given a chance at another day.”

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Quinn-Henry says the goal is to connect these residents with the mental health care they need whether it’s telehealth services or prescription refills. 

Aspire can offer residents access to programs aimed at improving the mental health of veterans, women, and children, and providing basic needs like housing and clothing. 

OPD officers will still respond to all calls involving armed individuals or threats of violence. 

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.