June 4 2018

Burlington Police Receive $100K Cummings Foundation Grant for Mental Health Initiative

By: BNEWS

The Burlington Police Department is receiving some financial help for an important program.

Chief Michael Kent said he is pleased to announce that the department will receive a Cummings Foundation $100,000 for 100 Communities grant that will support the Burlington Mental Health Initiative.

“The initiative will provide a comprehensive approach to mental health issues in the community,” a release from the department states. “In particular, it will include training and certification for Burlington Police officers in mental health first aid and crisis intervention through the International Association of Chiefs of Police's One Mind Campaign.”

With the grant, the Burlington Police Department will also recruit a part-time mental health clinician who will work side-by-side with officers on a daily basis for the next 2-and-a-half years.

“Police officers are increasingly the first points of contact with individuals living with mental illnesses,” Chief Kent said. “It's absolutely essential that our officers be equipped to recognize when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis and be able to take proactive steps to deescalate potentially dangerous situations.”

The Cummings Foundation awards $10 million each year through its $100K for 100 Communities grant program, the release states. Awardees typically include those supporting local causes, such as human services, education, healthcare and social justice. This is the second time in four years that Burlington Police have earned this $100,000 competitive grant from the Cummings Foundation.

The Burlington Mental Health Initiative will help the department engage directly with key community stakeholders in order to achieve several core goals:

- Increase collaboration between the Burlington Police Department and other agencies that serve individuals in town who are living with mental illnesses.

- Increase trust between the Burlington Police Department and the community at large.

- Enhance safety, both for people enduring mental health crises and officers responding to calls for service.

- Increase the number of referrals for those coping with mental health issues, so that they can acquire effective support and assistance.

- Provide opportunities for lasting support for those dealing with mental health issues that are often overlooked or only addressed on a temporary basis.

Burlington Police officials say the grant will help the department in its mission of ensuring the safety of all residents.

“Our entire department is committed to protecting the safety of everyone in our community, which includes understanding the signs that someone is struggling and taking action to get them the help they need,” said Capt. Greg Skehan, who oversaw the grant application process and will oversee the program. “Our embedded mental health clinician will bring this program full circle by providing proactive outreach as well as responding when mental health issues arise.”

The Burlington Mental Health Initiative will serve as a resource for those living with a broad range of mental health disorders, including Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Suicidal Tendencies, Depression, ADHD, and Substance Use Disorders, among others.

Chief Kent and Capt. Skehan have been invited to formally accept the grant at a Cummings Foundation ceremony Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the TradeCenter 128 Atrium in Woburn.


 

 
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