Orlando considering expanding pilot program helping with mental health emergency calls

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the last seven months, a pilot program in the city of Orlando has helped those with mental health issues.

Instead of sending police officers to certain calls, mental health counselors de-escalate the situation and provide services that people may not be able to get for themselves.

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The community response team’s pilot program, which launched in 2021, has so far helped 549 citizens in Orlando.

Well-being checks were added in July and the city is exploring the possibility of sending CRT members out with the fire department to overdose calls.

READ: Orlando launching pilot program to send mental health professionals to nonviolent calls for service

The Orlando Police Department said about 50% of the people helped follow through with appointments for care.

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.