Press Releases

UC Health’s Mobile Crisis Team Receives $5M to Aid in Mental Health Crisis

May. 17, 2023

Cincinnati, OH – The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners has allocated $5 million in federal funding to the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board to facilitate UC Health’s expansion of the Mobile Crisis Team, allowing UC Health’s mental health experts to support more Hamilton County residents during times of crisis.

“Mental health emergencies don’t take off nights and weekends,” said Commission President Alicia Reece. “We are happy to partner with UC Health to bring help directly to the people 24/7.”

“This allocation comes at a critical time as we continue to think about the impacts of mental health in our community,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “UC’s expansion bolsters our strategies toward addressing individuals in a more holistic way as we also seek to lessen the workload on our emergency services.”

“We’ve listened and have taken action to match the community need with mental health professionals who are expertly trained to de-escalate those in crisis, coordinate care, and provide resources,” said Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “This expansion will save lives.”  

“UC Health is committed to supporting those living with mental illness and facing crisis in real time. With this additional funding and our improved partnership with law enforcement, we are able to accomplish this mission around the clock with well-trained staff including those now have a focus on peer-based support,” said Jaimie Robinson, director of social work at UC Health’s UC Medical Center.

UC Health’s Mobile Crisis Team has been providing community crisis response for mental health to children and adults in crisis situations since 1986 – more than 37 years. 

The UC Health Mobile Crisis Team receives referrals from community members, people in crisis, family members, community mental health case managers, physicians and police. The UC Health Mobile Crisis Team also receives direct dispatch calls from the City of Cincinnati 911 to co-respond to mental health calls alongside police. UC Health Mobile Crisis Team members respond with police when there is a serious safety concern or respond with two MCT workers, depending on the situation and severity. The UC Health Mobile Crisis Team works closely with the referents, the patients, and the support system of that person to ensure the crisis can be addressed in the community without the need for hospitalization. 

The UC Health Mobile Crisis Team has received operational funding from the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board for many years, including $200,000 to expand services within the City of Cincinnati a few years ago. 

The $5 million allocation is made possible through Hamilton County’s allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. This funding ensures that the County and its residents have access to emergency crisis response through MCT in real time. MCT can divert persons in mental health crises from the justice system or hospitals by addressing the crisis and attempting to de-escalate and stabilize in the community. When stabilization in the community is not possible, MCT can ensure the safety of the person in crisis by working closely with law enforcement to transport them for further evaluation at emergency departments.

This funding will be used to: 

  • Double the size of the Mobile Crisis Team staff from 11.6 to 22.6 full time equivalent (FTE).
  • Continue to diversify staffing disciplines on the team, including: 
    • Additional clinicians in mental health.
    • Peer specialists: Individuals with lived experience in mental illness who will respond and follow-up with persons in crisis.
    • Behavioral specialists: Specialists who focus on wrap-around services and ensuring the person is in community stabilizing and that the right supports are in place.
  • Expand operations to 24/7: Previously, calls went to a crisis line, but police were the only units that responded prior to 8:30 a.m.
  • Add a Program Coordinator to work with law enforcement and first responder partners.
  • Raise awareness of the UC Health Mobile Crisis Team and its services.

About Hamilton County’s COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

Hamilton County received $158 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to combat the impact of Covid-19 in the community. For more information on Hamilton County's ARPA plan, visit our American Rescue Plan page.