FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local Police Add Co-Responding Mental Health Clinician
MOU with nonprofit agency Clinical & Support Options establishes full-time resource to help Police Departments in Hadley and Easthampton de-escalate scenes.
EASTHAMPTON/HADLEY, MASS. — Just as students return to in-person learning for the 2021–22 school year, nonprofit community behavioral health agency Clinical & Support Options (CSO) signed formal Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with both the Hadley Police Dept. and the Easthampton Police Dept.
Under the agreement, CSO will provide one full-time Masters-level clinician and 24/7 backup “to assist in support to individuals in the community who need mental health and/or substance use services.”
The pilot program will operate for one year unless or until it is extended. The two Police Departments have filed a joint application to the Mass. Dept. of Mental Health for a grant that would further fund the program as a “Jail Diversion” effort.
The CSO co-response clinician, Emma Reilly, LCSW, began working with the Hadley Police and Easthampton Police in mid-September. She works 40 hours per week, approximately 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. She is dispatched in Easthampton and Hadley. When called upon, the regional co-response clinician will arrive to the scene with an officer to provide expertise in the areas of emotional and mental health as well as behavioral de-escalation.
“As an agency, we’ve been focused on co response and de-escalation strategies for a long time,” says CSO President & CEO Karin Jeffers, “We work very closely and very well with our region’s Police Departments. Having formal agreements and working relationships in place only furthers our mutual value of and progression toward community policing models.”
For the Police Departments, the co-response program provides an alternative to traditional models of response.
“Co-Response is about responsibility and accountability to the community, family members and those in need of mental health services,” says Easthampton Chief of Police Robert J. Alberti. “Our co response promotes education, sensitivity, understanding and the continued building of community partnerships here in Easthampton."
Hadley Police Chief Michael Mason concurs.
“Many of the officers from both of our agencies are trained and certified in crisis intervention,” he explains, “but an embedded clinician, like Emma, adds yet another layer of assistance and trust that we feel our communities want and need. We could not be happier with the success of the program so far, and we hope to build upon it into the future."
According to CSO’s VP of Acute and Day Programs Jennifer LaRoche, who oversees the agency’s co response efforts, the response has already been good.
“We’ve already heard positive feedback from administration in the school departments,” LaRoche reports. “Sending a co-responding clinician alongside an officer improves perceptions on some calls. We’ve been told our new co-response team has been ‘professional, compassionate, and helpful.’”
CSO, which operates licensed behavioral health clinics throughout Western Mass., oversees Hampshire and Franklin County’s Emergency Services Programs (ESP). The Co-Response Clinician will be a full-time CSO employee and provide citizens with direct access to care. In addition to on scene dispatch, the Co-Response Clinician will also manage referrals and provide follow-up care when appropriate.
To learn more about CSO’s urgent-access mental health services in Western Mass., visit CSOInc.org/help. To find your nearest CSO location and contact information, visit CSOInc.org/locations.
ABOUT CLINICAL SUPPORT OPTIONS (CSO)
Clinical & Support Options Inc. (CSO) is a community-based nonprofit behavioral health agency providing individuals and families with comprehensive holistic clinical and support services
throughout Western Massachusetts. With 19 locations throughout five counties (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester/North Quabbin), CSO serves nearly 19,000 clients annually
with a wide range of responsive and effective interventions and mental health, addiction and recovery, and family services. Visit csoinc.org for more information.
Clinical and Support Options
8 Atwood Drive, Suite 301
Northampton, MA 01060
- Geoffrey Oldmixon, Assoc. VP of Marketing & Development
413-773-1314, Ext. 1039; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Michael A. Mason, Chief of Police, Hadley Police Department
(413) 584-0883; email@example.com
- Robert J. Alberti, Chief of Police, Easthampton Police Department