The Diversionary Response Workgroup continued to meet through the summer of 2021 with the follow focus to establish a one-year pilot program:

  • Established a subgroup consisting of Onondaga County 911 Call Center and Onondaga County personnel; public safety 1st responders and mental health professionals to identify a call deployment triage system which would facilitate appropriate dispatch of 911 calls for persons in crisis (having a mental health crisis) to public safety departments, crisis outreach team intervention or both.
  • The location of mental health professions at the 911 call center to assist dispatchers with calls and deployment decisions.
  • Enhancement of the current outreach process to include two-person mental health outreach teams consisting of one (1) mental health profession and one peer community advocate. 911 call data has been used to identify the most effective days and times to deploy the intervention team during a weekly 5-day period. The proposed pilot will consist of three teams (two in Syracuse and one serving Onondaga County).

Both the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County are in the process of finalizing the components of the proposed models with stakeholders of the Diversionary Response Workgroup as well as identifying and gaining approval for funding.

The city of Syracuse has identified the use of ARPA funding for use in the pilot program and after final pilot development will present the model before the Syracuse Common Council by the end of 2021. If approved by council, the pilot will launch in January 2022.

The pilot will assist our community in assessing the success and weaknesses of the identified diversionary response method by collecting both quantitative (who, what, where, when information) and qualitative (benefits or barriers) of diversionary response care. This information will equip our community with information to assess the components needed for an effective diversionary response program county-wide:

  • Pre-response: Triage at the 911 center
  • Response: Engaged response by appropriate entity identified by 911
  • Post Response: Ongoing care and support needed for persons in crisis
  • Overall cost

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