Here @ Home looks at the MARCUS Alert System

Providing a behavioral health response to behavioral health emergencies
Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 3:00 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The MARCUS in Marcus Alert System stands for: Mental health Awareness Response and Community Understanding Services Alert System.

Here @ Home welcomes Roanoke County Police Assistant Chief Jimmy Chapman and Mandy Lee, the director of the Marcus Alert and Crisis Intervention Team, to talk about what the community needs to know about this system.

They tell us this is coming to the valley July 1.

Residents will start to see some additional options for mental health response in Botetourt, Craig County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem and Vinton. It’s a Joint regional collaboration between all police departments and sheriff’s offices in the greater Roanoke Valley.

The Roanoke Valley has five public safety answering point centers (PSAPs) or dispatch centers, that will be changing the way they triage calls pertaining to behavioral health crisis. They will triage them based on a four-level triage system and each level will have a corresponding response.

PSAPs across the state will be transitioning to this way of triaging by 2028. Possible responses include transferring calls to 988 counselors, having mobile crisis therapists respond, and having local co-response therapist and LE officer teams respond.

Blue Ridge Behavioral Health is hiring these co-response therapists who will be embedded in area law enforcement agencies and able to respond to calls for service alongside officers and deputies as part of the Crisis Intervention Team.

Officers/deputies will also have access to these therapists via iPad when they’re not able to respond in person to calls involving a behavioral health crisis.

The whole goal is to provide a behavioral health response to a behavioral health crisis.