Mesquite, TX – October 26, 2021 – On Oct. 26 Balch Springs, Mesquite, Seagoville, and Sunnyvale announced one of the first major collaborations by multiple cities in Dallas County, Texas to address mental health. The Southeast Alliance Community Care Team will be a new unified approach towards public mental health response needs in all four communities.
Mesquite City Manager Cliff Keheley said, “This team is an important step towards providing a resource for residents in our communities and changing the way we deal with residents with mental health issues. Each city has a need for this team. Each city needs every police officer, firefighter and dispatcher trained to work with people in a crisis. We need to address the growing number of homeless and near homeless people seeking help in our communities.”
The Southeast Alliance Community Care Team is the first concept of its kind on the east side of the DFW region. It will focus on proactive and reactive mental health services for citizens in the communities of Balch Springs, Mesquite, Seagoville, and Sunnyvale. The program’s efforts will include services to check in on residents with a history of mental health issues to ensure they are receiving the treatment and services needed. The team will also help homeless individuals who may not have access to mental health services.
Melissa Finch Carr, Behavioral Health Program Manager, said, “Southeast Alliance Community Care Team has three planned stages. We will reactively respond to 911 emergency mental health crisis calls dispatched by Public Safety. We will actively seek out persons experiencing homelessness to build trust and assess them for social, medical, and psychiatric needs they may have. And, we will develop improved training for all the public safety agencies within the alliance and other public safety staff in Texas that wish to attend. The team will collaborate with public safety staff to create a difference in these communities by making them healthier and safer.”
A $900,000 Dallas County grant will help support the Southeast Alliance Community Care Team, which is modeled after similar successful programs around the country. The grant will cover the cost of a vehicle and supplies, salaries for two team members and funding for all four cities to train every police officer, fire fighter and dispatcher in crisis response so that each mental health call is handled in a compassionate manner.
Keheley said, “I would like to express my appreciation to Dallas County for the support of funding through their New Directions in Public Safety grant program. The Southeast Alliance Community Care Team would not be starting today without these financial resources.”