Mental health calls have been noticeably increasing in Minnetonka, said Community Engagement Officer Scott Marks.
The calls have risen 300 percent since 2005. Some callers have reached out to law enforcement as often as 30 times in a six-month span.
When people call in with mental health issues, Marks said, they often do so more than once.
“That’s one area we can target to at least try to find better services for, and to make a connection with, these folks,” Marks said. “We see their needs aren’t being met.”
The Minnetonka Police Department has begun creating a crisis aftercare program with Relate Counseling Center, a nonprofit based out of Minnetonka.
“This is one way we can kind of refocus people’s perceptions about calling law enforcement,” he said.
The program has officers and a relate counselor visiting the caller again after he or she has returned home. When they visit, they offer the option of scheduling an appointment to follow up with the therapist.
“We’re hoping that actually putting a face to that follow-up … that it helps reduce some anxiety,” he said. “We’re trying to meet them when they’re not in a crisis when we’re trying to put them on a transport to a hospital.”
The program is supposed to start in January.