Mental Health Law | Current Legislation | 2021
Bill SD.1567 “An Act to enhance 911 operations for behavioral health crisis response”
Summary of Mental Health Bill SD.1567
Terms to know in this bill:
- 988: This number refers to a new emergency dispatch number specifically designed to answer “behavioral health emergencies.” The plans for how to put it into place and oversee it will be determined by a “988 Commission.”
- 988 Commission: a committee appointed by the governor. The organizations that will sit in this commission are listed on page 8, lines 142 to 160, and named in the highlights.
- Mobile Behavioral Responders: an alternative to police involvement in mental health crisis calls. Police may still be called to “co-respond,” but are not directly listed in this bill as members of mobile behavioral response teams. [Note: the team positions are all listed in a “may include” stage].
This bill describes an alternative to police involvement in mental health calls. It uses the ongoing state government designs/discussions on a 988 mental health crisis hotline to suggest that the first response be a “mobile behavioral response” team that provides “professional community-based intervention such as evaluation, de-escalation, stabilization, diversion, and triage to acute intervention or community-based settings.” This bill, while an alternative to police response, does still name places where law enforcement is involved [see highlights below].
The bill outlines who may be included in this type of team: “(1) Emergency Service Provider/Mobile Crisis Intervention teams; (2) local or regional behavioral health teams including licensed behavioral health professionals and peers that may include crisis co-responders; and (3) licensed behavioral health professionals and peers embedded in Emergency Medical Services (EMS).” [page 2]
What the 988 mobile team response actually looks like will be determined by a 988 Commission. If this bill passes the Senate, it would be in play by July 16, 2022, but the 988 Commission has to give its recommendations by December 31, 2021.
Ways to Get Involved
Getting involved as a constituent can include contacting your legislator directly by:
- Find your legislator through the search toolbar on the state’s website: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
- Note the email address of your legislator at the top of their profile page.
- Create an email letter, or use our letter in support of this bill. You’ll need to add your name and your legislators name before it’s ready to go.
- Email your letter of support directly to your legislator.
General Public Survey
Help up understand ideas, arguments, and feelings around Alternatives to Police discussions by taking our anonymous survey here.