A crisis intervention team in Indianapolis that responds to behavioral health crises to divert individuals away from the criminal justice and healthcare systems
The Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) is a collaboration between the Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS), the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), and Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health that responds to mental health, substance use, and medical crises. This coordinated response is designed with the ultimate goal of diverting individuals in behavioral health crises away from the criminal justice system and emergency department and towards treatment and social services.
The MCAT team is comprised of a police officer, a paramedic, and a licensed mental health professional who is trained in how to de-escalate situations. The team responds to crises calls (e.g. mental health crisis, drug overdose, suicide ideation/attempt) throughout the city, and team members are trained to link individuals to the most appropriate services. The pilot program began in 2017 in one part of the city. Once the program was expanded after the pilot, the IEMS downscaled their involvement to only responding to calls that required a paramedic (e.g. drug overdoses) to most efficiently allocate city resources.
The MCAT shares many similarities with a previously implemented crisis intervention program, CAHOOTS. More detailed information on the program can be found in this independent evaluation and in this issue brief. Contact information can be found in this article.