MISSOULA - Missoula Police Department data shows violent crime has increased in the city for the second year in a row. However, a program we've reported on in the past continues to work to alleviate some of the pressure of service calls from law enforcement.
The city and county funded the Mobile Support Team (MST) which has operated since November 2020. And they've been busy. The MST reports last month they responded to 186 behavioral health crisis calls, up from an average of 100 calls a month.
The team has mental health clinicians and Emergency Medical Technicians trained to respond to a mental health crisis. Proponents say this kind of program allows responders to spend more time resolving mental health issues and connecting clients to resources.
“I grew up in Montana, and I grew up in a very small town, that did not have any mental health resources. I have family members that attempted suicide and just the response that we got in that community wasn’t what it could have potentially be,” noted MST clinician Quinn Mawhinney.
“Having a unit like this and knowing that there’s going to be more support for folks keeps me doing this job, and it’s important,” Mawhinney continued.
She adds while she believes law enforcement do a good job in Missoula, they don't have the time to spend talking people through behavioral and mental health issues.
Click here to read the full 2021 Missoula Police Department Annual report.