Duluth Police Department is forming a Behavioral Health Unit

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Lately, more than half the 911 calls made to the Duluth Police Department include behavioral health or substance abuse. Poor mental health and substance abuse lead to issues not only for wellness, but sometimes also with law enforcement.

Lieutenant Dave Drozdowski, of the Duluth Police Department talked more about the Behavioral Health Unit. “With the two units working closer together, we are able to share a lot more information. Sometimes they might have a mental health component along with a substance use component of their problems or their condition. And by working closer and closer collaboration, we can better help that person to address both those issues in their lives.” Lt. Drozdowski said.

With a greater focus on helping people in a mental health or substance abuse crisis; police now report a 31 percent decrease in repeat 9-1-1 calls. “If it’s something that you think there’s a safety issue, you should call 911. You can call the behavioral health unit. But we deal with more things that are more law enforcement related. So we try to steer non-safety type issues over to CRT and nine, eight, eight. Then leave kind of the safety issues more to us.” Lt. Drozdowski said.

Lt. Drozdowski also said when officers arrive on the scene of a behavioral health call and if the situation is safe, then they often help the person get in touch with a place like the Dominano center.

Seth Currier, the executive director at the Damiano Center talked more about helping someone during a behavioral health crisis. “People from every socioeconomic status, any class, gender, race, age, all demographics suffer from some substance abuse as well as from mental health. Unless somebody wants to make a change on their own, nothing’s going to happen. We can’t force anybody to do anything. It’s all of us supporting one another, coming out together as a community. But that doesn’t mean that any of us deserve any less care or any less compassion or help than anybody else. Currier said.

For more information on behavioral health you can look here https://www.mapbhc.com/

For another story about behavioral health you can read that here https://www.wdio.com/front-page/local-news/new-multimedia-campaign-for-wi-988-hotline/