Fairbanks mobile crisis team program receives $800,000 grant | Local News

Fairbanks mobile crisis team program receives 0,000 grant | Local News

The Fairbanks Mobile Crisis Team has received a major funding boost from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, according to a news release.

The trust authority on Dec. 6 earmarked $800,000 to Alaska Behavioral Health, which operates the mobile crisis teams in the city. The teams, which consist of a mental health clinician and certified peer support specialist, respond to people who are in crisis.

Mobile crisis teams have been operating under a single provider since October when Alaska Behavioral Health took over the role entirely.

The Fairbanks Emergency Communications Center sends crews into a 988 or 911 call for related calls, and occasionally accompanies first responders.

The MCT will then help the person resolve the crisis on the spot and/or connect the person to other resources, and follow up within 48 hours unless the person refuses.

Since its inception in November 2021, the teams have managed to keep 80% of individuals in crisis “in the community instead of moving to a higher level of care” or being arrested.

The $800,000 grant will allow Alaska Behavior Health to continue supporting Fairbanks teams.

“We were pleased to make a difference for Fairbanks residents in crisis by operating Alaska’s first mobile crisis teams,” Sarah Koogle, AKBH Fairbanks Clinic Manager said in a statement. “We are grateful for the Trust’s support to continue this work, which improves outcomes for individuals in crisis.”

The grant also supports continued coordination with local governments, emergency services, law enforcement and healthcare stakeholders.

The city of Fairbanks Crisis Now Coordinator Office, also funded by an Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority grant, is helping to coordinate efforts with local stakeholders.

The Trust adopted the Crisis Now model “to improve mental health crisis response, prevent suicide, and reduce reliance on law enforcement, emergency rooms and jails when responding to crises.”

From January to October, 487 calls to law enforcement were redirected to mobile crisis teams. In October alone, crews sent 51 calls to them and typically responded within 30 minutes, spending an average of 45 minutes on scene.

The teams respond to varying levels of calls from responding to a secure facility or without law enforcement to the occasional need for an officer.

“Since its launch a year ago, we have seen great success with the Fairbanks Mobile Crisis Team, and we are very grateful to the many partners in Fairbanks, from the City, to law enforcement to providers including AKBH, who make this success possible ,” says Steve Williams, Trust’s chief executive.

Overall, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority provided $20 million in grants to agencies across the state.

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