Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) is taking a new approach to mental health response.

Earlier this year, the agency launched the Mental Health Response Team (MHRT), an internal effort designed to further prioritize the community's mental health needs.

Consisting of two FCPS officers and members of the UCHealth Community Outreach, Response and Engagement (CORE) Team, the unit will allow the agency to treat mental health cases with the nuance they require.

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"The department saw the need for having dedicated cops that were...really dedicated to follow-up," said Officer Annie Hill, a MHRT officer and registered psychotherapist, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "I think that's important too, not just handling stuff in the moment of a crisis, but being able to call three days later, a week later to see how that person's doing and check in."

This type of outreach is even more imperative during the pandemic, which has significantly increased the amount of mental health-related calls.

The MHRT will also increase on-scene safety without sacrificing the focus on mental health — a welcome solution amidst discussions surrounding law enforcement.

"Scenes are dynamic and things can change, and I've seen it a lot in my time here...it's really important to have that officer just there," said Stephanie Booco, a MHRT team member and UCHealth Community Programs Coordinator/Clinician. "Know you're not alone. Know that there are resources and that there's people that care and want to hear your story and what your needs are, and they want to meet them."

In times of crisis, the public can reach the MHRT via request when calling 911 or the non-emergency number, or by contacting mhrt@fcgov.com.

Learn more about the Fort Collins Police Services' new Mental Health Response Team by listening to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Officer Annie Hill and Stephanie Booco below.

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