Denver allocates $1.4M for city's mental health program

Each STAR team, which consists of a paramedic and a mental health professional, responds to mental health 911 calls throughout the city

By Leila Merrill

DENVER — Denver’s Support Team Assisted Response program plans to increase its service after the city council approved $1.4 million in funding, KUSA reported.

Each STAR team includes a mental health professional and a paramedic, and they respond to mental health 911 calls in a STAR van.

The pilot program began in June 2020 and has responded to more than 2,700 calls.

The program currently has three vans in operation citywide. With the new funds, that may expand to six vans and 10 teams, who would work from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week.

With the $1.4 million contract, STAR is funded through December. 

"It means that we're going to be able to make it to more calls, which is really exciting after running a very small pilot program with one van working predominantly downtown," STAR operations manager Carleigh Sailon said. "So we're now responding citywide, and responding to more calls for service. And our goal is to make it to all the calls for service that are STAR eligible, and ensure that folks in our community who are vulnerable or marginalized or struggling have that support, and have access to that right response." 

STAR is modeled after the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Ore.

As its popularity grows, Eugene, Ore.'s, CAHOOTS launches crisis response course

As its popularity grows, Eugene, Ore.'s, CAHOOTS launches crisis response course

The mobile crisis intervention class is planned to run three times a year with cohorts made up of participants from municipalities, nonprofits and community groups


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