Trenton – In an effort to better support residents in crisis, the Senate advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz which would establish a community crisis response advisory council and pilot program.
“There has been a large push in recent years to have mental health professionals respond to calls from people in crisis, rather than law enforcement or other emergency personnel who may unintentionally escalate the situation,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). “This legislation will allow municipalities to partner with community organizations to do just that. The response teams will be able to assist people experiencing behavioral health crisis, connect them to resources and follow up to be sure they are getting the help that they need.”
The bill, S-4250, would establish a pilot program to permit municipalities and community-based organizations in Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex and Passaic counties to operate community crisis response teams. The teams would provide de-escalation and stabilization services to individuals experiencing mental health crisis.
The bill would also establish a Crisis Response Advisory Council within the Department of Health to provide recommendations on developing a permanent program.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 21-14 and next goes to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.