At its Feb. 15, 2022 meeting, the Iowa City City Council approved a resolution awarding $939,082 to CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank in the form of a State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) grant. The SLFRF dollars are part of the $18.3 million allocated to the City of Iowa City through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
CommUnity Crisis Services will use the funding to expand its Mobile Crisis Outreach (MCO) services, including hiring three full-time MCO counselors, purchasing eight vehicles, and remodeling a portion of the former food bank, located at1121 Gilbert Court, for mobile crisis use. The additional resources will allow CommUnity to reduce response times and meet increased demand for mobile crisis services.
CommUnity's efforts align with the City's goals to support and invest in services that will create a continuum of responses to calls for service and divert calls from police that are better-suited for mental health professionals. These actions have been taken as part of the Preliminary Plan to Restructure the Iowa City Police Department.
About Mobile Crisis Outreach
When Mobile Crisis Outreach is contacted, trained mental health counselors are dispatched to homes, schools, businesses, or public spaces where a mental health crisis is occurring. The goal of Mobile Crisis Outreach is to stabilize the person in crisis, determine whether referrals to other community services are necessary, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and arrests, and admit the person in crisis to a stabilization bed if necessary.
Mobile Crisis Outreach is not a co-response program. MCO counselors and police officers are not dispatched together. Iowa City police officers are encouraged to contact Mobile Crisis Outreach when dispatched to calls for service involving a mental health crisis. Mobile Crisis Outreach is not an appropriate first-responder service for medical emergencies or dangerous or violent situations.
When should I call Mobile Crisis Outreach?
Mobile Crisis Outreach is designed for those experiencing a mental health crisis and is willing to meet with MCO counselors; having suicidal ideations; is unsure if psychiatric hospitalization is necessary; or needs crisis de-escalation, emotional support, or a referral to additional community resources. It is not meant for those experiencing a medical emergency or is a current violent threat. Mobile Crisis Outreach is a voluntary program.
How do I reach Mobile Crisis Outreach and what can I expect?
Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or concerned about someone experiencing a crisis can contact Mobile Crisis Outreach at 1-855-581-8111. A counselor will respond within 60 minutes of being dispatched. Once on scene, counselors will explore available options for helping people feel safe and stable in the least restrictive environment possible.
A Mobile Crisis Follow-Up Counselor will schedule a follow-up call the next day. Follow-up is intended to reinforce any plans made during the Mobile Crisis contact and help connect clients with community services that can support them long-term.