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The foundation of Aurora Mental Health Center is the community we serve. Our vast partnerships within the community allow us to expand our reach and services to critical areas of need.
With the combined expertise, engagement and support of our partners, AuMHC delivers evidence-based and innovative programs that impact populations that are often under-served or require a specialized approach.
Financial support through grants and donations is the primary means of funding for these programs. As a leader in mental health and community support services, AuMHC has a strong record in successfully receiving local, state, federal, and foundation grants targeting specific populations and needs. Our success in these endeavors is reflected through the reception of our partners and the community.
This section features some of those partnerships and programs that are helping to create a safer, healthier, and stronger Aurora, now and into the future.
We believe that everyone should have access to a safe place to sleep at night when the weather puts a person at risk. The Aurora Community Outreach Team (ACOT) puts this belief into action through a collaboration of partners, mobilized to bring services and access to safe shelter directly to homeless individuals. ACOT partners include:
ACOT’s Outreach Van is staffed with a physician’s assistant from Metro Community Provider Network, a licensed therapist from Aurora Mental Health Center, an outreach case manager from Colfax Community Network, and two Crisis Intervention Team-trained police officers. When temperatures hit extremes – both hot and cold – ACOT activates to find homeless individuals who may not be able to access our local resources, such as Comitis Shelter or Aurora Warms the Night (which issues motel vouchers), offers them assistance and helps them travel to a safe place.
Individuals who do accept assistance are triaged on the van for any immediate concerns (physical or psychological) and transported to the local Comitis shelter or an overflow shelter in our community. Those who refuse assistance are given a food packet, blanket, cold weather essentials (gloves, hat etc.), and a resource card.
But the work doesn’t stop there. All individuals contacted by ACOT members are followed up with and contacted by a member of AuMHC’s PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) team. PATH operates through a government funded grant, providing linkage to potential resources for homeless individuals to gain access to both temporary and permanent housing. The Mile High Behavioral Healthcare Outreach team is funded by the City of Aurora.
Since 2013, ACOT has provided safety, respite, and hope to many of Aurora’s most vulnerable people. We are increasing our impact with the addition of a full-time integrated mental health professional within the Aurora Police Department. Through vested partnerships and community support, the work of ACOT will continue into the future.
To make a donation to help support the program, please donate at https://www.coloradogives.org/AuMHC/overview and select ACOT.
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT): Improving Law Enforcement Engagement through Knowledge and Partnership: This program was created in 1988 in Memphis, Tennessee, as a means for first responders to more effectively engage with those experiencing a mental health crisis. It has become a national model for community policing that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, crisis services, emergency departments, and individuals with mental illness – and their families – to improve responses and increase pre-arrest jail diversion for people in crisis.
Aurora Mental Health Center is the local provider of CIT training in partnership with the Aurora Police Department. The course is an intense 40-hour training based on the Memphis CIT curriculum. Classes on mental health are taught by AuMHC staff and supported by outside agencies from the community:
A major component of training is role-playing. Intense, realistic, and wide-ranging scenarios are developed in conjunction with APD and facilitated by professional actors. Through this, officers gain knowledge and experience they can apply in the field. Officers also tour AuMHC’s Community Crisis Connection facility, located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, to learn about the services provided at the location and begin to establish relationships for response partnerships.
Currently, 195 trained, active members are utilizing the CIT model. There is now increased cooperation between APD, AuMHC, and other community organizations. As a result, we are overcoming some of the cultural barriers that have existed between law enforcement and mental health service providers, learning from one another for the benefit of clients and the community.
The results of training and partnership are real. APD has a better understanding of Community Crisis Connection and the services they provide. APD has increased their use of CCC services, helping to get people in crisis the help they need and out of emergency rooms and jails. Education on interaction with people in crisis has led to decreases in use of force, decreased injuries to officers and clients, and increased officers’ ability to spend more time on patrol supporting the community.
The response from APD and partners has been overwhelmingly positive. AuMHC will continue to grow the CIT program, with future trainings for more officers and continuous development of our partnerships.
For more information on CIT, please contact CIT@aumhc.org