New kind of emergency service called 'mental health first responders' coming to Anchorage

  • Source: KTUU-TV NBC 2 Anchorage
  • Published: 11/22/2020 12:17 PM

Starting in 2021, a new kind of emergency service will be coming to Anchorage. Anchorage’s recently-passed 2021 operating budget includes funding for a Mobile Crisis Team, dubbed “mental health first responders” by its advocates. The idea according to Assembly Member Meg Zaletel, one of the Assembly members who pushed for the team’s creation, is to approach mental health emergencies from a new angle. “Instead of a police officer, in an instance of crisis that seems more behavioral health-related, we send a paramedic and a behavioral health clinician,” she said. That pair would respond to those emergencies and address any immediate medical problems while also employing de-escalation tactics. Next, the idea is to connect people with the appropriate services.


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