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Indianapolis recruiting to expand mental health services

City seeks more money for Clinician Lead Response Team

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety says it is trying to expand the hours and manpower in the Mobile Crisis Assistance Team and the Clinician Lead Community Response Team.

“The plan is to be 24/7. We want people at any point in the day to call for help to the clinicians, but we are also facing the reality of staffing. Our salaries are competitive, so we can have people doing that job,” said Martine Romy Bernard-Tucker, director for the Indianapolis Office of Public Health.

MCAT only responds to mental health incidents that turn violent. MCAT pairs a clinician with an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer. The unit works Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The CLCR team operates 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but can only respond to non-violent incidents. The city launched the program as a test in July, serving just the downtown area.

“The request for the 2024 budget is to expand the budget for the clinician team, to allow for that expansion to the east district and 24/7 service in both districts,” said Bernard-Tucker

The Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center covers the entire expense for the MCAT clinicians that accompany IMPD officers, while IMPD foots the bill for all the officers and equipment in the unit. Bernard-Tucker says until MCAT can hire more staff willing to work late into the evening the current hours won’t shift much.

“There are conversations about expanding and what we can do better. What gaps there are that we can fill in,” said Bernard-Tucker.

News 8 asked Eskenazi Health if more MCAT clinicians will be added next year. A spokesperson for the hospital is still working to get an answer.