Cook County Sheriff’s workplace hitting entrance traces of psychological well being therapy in River North, downtown

CHICAGO (CBS) — Have you observed extra Cook County Sheriff’s officers and cruisers throughout Chicago? There’s a motive for it.

Only on 2, we’re getting a firsthand take a look at the road outreach work the sheriff’s workplace is doing downtown.

CBS 2’s Tara Molina walked town with the Treatment Response Team (TRT) on Wednesday. The workforce focuses on connecting folks on the road with assets.

It’s a proactive policing effort amid rising crime throughout the downtown space. The sheriff’s workplace has groups of police and clinicians responding to points when they should from their new command put up within the River North neighborhood, or strolling the neighborhood and assembly folks the place they’re.

“A lot of clinicians aren’t on the ground like we are, actually,” mentioned sheriff’s workplace clinician Patrick Kelley.

Rain, solar, cool, or warmth; the crew dubbed the Treatment Response Team is downtown, strolling the neighborhood doing avenue outreach.

“A lot of the individuals we work with don’t have phones, don’t have addresses, so really the only way we can contact them is continuing to be out here, and providing that support and assistance,” Kelley mentioned.

Kelley has a background in prison justice and psychological well being counseling. He’s not a police officer, he is a therapist.

A workforce of therapists and cops started working collectively in River North only a couple months in the past.

“When they’re is in crisis, they need someone to talk to, and what better person for them to talk to than a therapist?” Kelley mentioned. 

The distinction? They hold these conversations going after responding to an incident or crime; and, once they hit the pavement three days every week, they be certain to speak to folks persistently seen on the road.

They supply assist for these scuffling with homelessness, psychological well being points, or substance abuse issues. They’re positioned to attach them with housing and therapy choices.

“This is all about being on the front end of things,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart mentioned.

More than half of the folks within the Cook County Jail have psychological well being issues, in line with Dart.

He mentioned this work is not nearly working to vary that, and get folks the assistance they want, however to forestall it from going that far within the first place.

“If we get to them now, they’re not going to be there maybe robbing somebody because they need to feed their habit. They’re not going to be stealing something out of a store because they lost their job,” he mentioned.

Dart mentioned they’re working within the River North and downtown areas, as a result of “We’ve never seen greater needs ever.”

“It’s not even a close call,” he mentioned. “I was down here walking the area and it was so overwhelming- the need to address mental health and homeless and substance abuse. Block after block we came across someone who was suffering.”

Dart mentioned this system is a proactive effort to forestall points we have seen boil over downtown up to now.

“For folks that are having a mental health issue and a substance abuse issue, they co-occur all the time, a minor interaction with someone who is not doing well at that moment escalates really quickly. What was maybe someone asking for a handout of some nature can lead to a physical confrontation. Things go off the rails in a hurry,” he mentioned.

The Treatment Response Team is right here to remain.

“We’re gonna do what we can to help,” Kelley mentioned.

Last week, the workforce engaged with 17 folks throughout their outreach, distributed 5 Narcan kits for treating opioid overdoses, and met with six companies. Two folks from that week are actively engaged with the workforce’s employees for help with psychological well being or substance use.

Overall, the workforce is presently engaged with greater than 200 purchasers, together with folks receiving companies by way of a “virtual co-responder program,” which permits officers on the scene to contact a TRT clinician utilizing a pill or smartphone to assist somebody in disaster.

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