June 23, 2022

City of Chicago Launches Data Dashboard to Support Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement Program

Dashboard to offer metrics on outcomes associated with 911 alternate response calls

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Office of Emergency Communication and Management (OEMC), the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) launched the Data Dashboard. The new resource will provide information on the City’s Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) Program. The primary goal of the CARE program is to improve outcomes for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis requiring an emergency response.

"The launch of the Dashboard will help facilitate how we serve residents experiencing a behavioral health emergency and connect them to the full measure of necessary care and services," said Mayor Lightfoot. "With the support of CDPH, CFD, OEMC, and CPD, I am fully confident that residents across our city will receive access to critical resources, making our city safer and more compassionate." 

The CARE program, launched by Mayor Lightfoot last summer, embeds mental health clinicians into the 911 response system. The initial phase of the pilot program established two Multi-Disciplinary Response Teams comprised of a CDPH mental health practitioner, a CFD community paramedic, and a CPD crisis intervention trained officer. The pilot launched with one team serving the Lakeview and Uptown community areas, and another team serving the Auburn Gresham and Chatham community areas.

The City recently announced the expansion of the CARE program to four new communities — Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, West Elsdon, and West Lawn. CARE also launched a new Alternate Response Team structure that allows CFD Community Paramedics and CDPH mental health practitioners to respond to 911 calls that involve a mental health crisis without CPD crisis intervention trained officers. 

“The Dashboard will not only tell us how well we’re doing in addressing the urgent needs of Chicagoans facing a behavioral health crisis, but it will also inform future strategic decision-making and deployment of community resources,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, CDPH Commissioner. “It is seldom one-and-done when dealing with mental health emergencies. Our strategy, which the Data Dashboard will inform, is focused not just on the immediate crisis, but on connecting individuals to appropriate community-based resources to support their physical and emotional health for the long-run.”

A CDPH epidemiologist will maintain the Data Dashboard and provide data by month and community area. The Dashboard will be updated weekly with a one-week lag time. Initially, the data provided will come from 911 Multidisciplinary Response Teams. But later this summer the Dashboard will expand to include data from the newly deployed Alternate Response Teams.

The data on the Dashboard will focus on the initial response to 911 calls, outcome, and follow-up while fully protecting the privacy of those receiving services. Possible response outcomes include: 

  • CARE services delivered on site, no transport
  • CARE services delivered on site and transport by CARE Team to an alternate care destination, like a shelter or crisis stabilization center
  • CARE services delivered on site and transfer to CFD or CPD for transport to hospital
  • No contact with individual in crisis
  • Individual refused CARE evaluation and services

“The CARE Pilot Program is an important strategy for providing alternate response options for individuals with mental and behavioral health needs when public safety is needed to provide assistance," said Superintendent David O. Brown. "This Dashboard will advance our reform efforts by improving transparency and raising awareness of the City’s crisis intervention efforts.”

"I am proud to have our Paramedics on the front lines of this innovative response model," said Chicago Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt. "The men and women of the Chicago Fire Department are dedicated and committed to rapidly and professionally responding to all fire and medical emergencies, and this program allows us to provide enhanced services when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The CARE Team has responded to more than 200 mental health-related 911 calls since September, with zero arrests or use of force. Sixty percent of these calls result in CARE services delivered. In approximately one-third of calls, the CARE Team did not have contact with the individual in crisis, which most often occurs when the individual is no longer on scene when the CARE Team arrives. On average, the CARE Team spends just over 50 minutes on scene, providing mental health and substance use assessments, de-escalation, and discussing immediate health and social needs with individuals. The CARE Team also has clothing, hygiene items, harm reduction kits, and bus passes that they can provide to individuals.

Follow-up services occur both in-person and by phone. The CARE Team conducts follow-up with each individual touched by the program at the one-day mark, the seven-day mark, and the thirty-day mark, depending on individual needs. Follow-up includes ensuring that individuals make it to their clinic or other appointments, helping them get IDs or other documentation, connecting them to housing and other social service needs, and assisting with transitions out of hospital care, if warranted.

“OEMC has dedicated significant resources to train our call takers and dispatchers on how to connect residents with much needed mental health support to align with the goals of this important program,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “We look forward to continuing to improve our processes in support of this effort."