How Counselors Help Western Wayne County Police Respond to Mental Health Crisis Calls


WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – During a mental health crisis, the police are often the first point of contact for people who really need help. A program in West Wayne County aims to change that and is already showing positive results.

There are now hundreds of trained counselors and embedded police social workers in Wayne County. They help divert people in crisis from emergency rooms and prisons.

Bellinda Mack, a behavioral health clinician, is integrated into the Northville Township Police Department.

“I love it,” Mack said. “I think it’s great to get the services they need when they need them.

Mack is trained under a program by Hegira Health. She is called when there is a mental health crisis.

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“Often when people are in crisis and they don’t get the help they need, it spirals. And sometimes they feel like everyone has let them down and they don’t want to get help, so to be able to come in, at that time and be able to help somebody and show them that there are people who care and there are these services and I can walk them through it’s just an amazing feeling,” Mack said.

Counselors or psychologists like Mack now work in 11 Western Wayne County police departments. She is one of four full-time clinicians in Northville.

“These are licensed, masters level, trained social workers, psychologists or therapists who are able to do this crisis intervention and de-escalation in the moment. And then they’re also able to provide follow-up care for mental health and addictions treatment and services that that person might not otherwise receive,” said Jaime White of Hegira Health.

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Currently, there are over 500 officers in Wayne County, trained and ready to respond to any type of crisis that arises. Township of Northville pioneering the program, some of the participating cities include Livonia, Romulus, Plymouth and Canton.

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