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Local

DeKalb City Council approves moving forward on mental health services plan

DeKALB – The city of DeKalb will be moving forward with a plan to improve responses and available services for persons with mental health disorders after the City Council’s meeting.

The city was recently the recipient of a Department of Justice grant for a police-mental health collaboration project in the amount of $75,000.

Cmdr. Jason Leverton said the goal of the project is to identify potential solutions for people who fall through the cracks of traditional mental health services and require repeated response from the police, who may not be equipped to provide for them.

“The project is a research and planning grant to determine the extent of unserved and underserved needs of persons suffering from mental illness throughout the community,” Leverton said. “Specifically, the project is designed to create a strategic plan for providing initial and ongoing mental health services to persons with mental illnesses who frequently come into contact with police and other public service providers.”

Council waived second reading and unanimously approved the request.

“This is only the first step, and this isn’t going to solve all the problems, but I firmly believe you have to take the first step,” 5th Ward Alderwoman Kate Noreiko said.

The council’s actions will allow the hiring of a part-time grant coordinator who will examine the purpose and protocols of the grant, design a planning team to review it, administer a request for proposal for a professional research firm to conduct a study on mental health and develop a plan for mental health responses in the community. The coordinator will be paid $26,596 from the grant.

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