Funding will Support Access to Behavioral Health Services in Plymouth County
PLYMOUTH — Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) Executive Director Allie Hunter is pleased to announce that P.A.A.R.I. has been awarded a $930,000 Integrative Behavioral Health grant by South Shore Health.
South Shore Health awarded $2.4 million to nonprofit groups this spring to support behavioral healthcare in Plymouth and Norfolk counties. P.A.A.R.I. was one of two nonprofit groups selected to receive a five-year grant for $930,000 this cycle.
The grant will support a new partnership between P.A.A.R.I. and Plymouth County Outreach (PCO), a collaborative of 28 police departments throughout the region. Over the next five years, P.A.A.R.I. will work with PCO to implement a “hub model” throughout the county to expand the behavioral health services available to the community, and coordinate outreach visits for individuals identified as being at acutely elevated risk due to substance use and/or mental health issues.
“This first-of-its-kind grant program through South Shore Health reflects our organization’s deep commitment to promoting good health within the community and by removing barriers to accessing behavioral healthcare for the most vulnerable among us,” said Gene E. Green, president and CEO of South Shore Health. “Congratulations to P.A.A.R.I. for being named a grantee. We are excited to see the impact this initiative will have in our communities.”
“P.A.A.R.I. has had many successful partnerships with PCO, and we are thrilled to embark on this latest initiative to support our local law enforcement partners to address behavioral health needs in Plymouth County,” Hunter said. “We are incredibly thankful that South Shore Health has chosen to support our plan to improve access to behavioral health services on the South Shore.”
“Behavioral health issues are a huge concern, and not just in Plymouth county– these issues are affecting communities everywhere,” said Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri, a member of the P.A.A.R.I. Law Enforcement Council. “We’re fortunate that this grant has been awarded to support behavioral health programming locally to help those who are struggling.”
The “hub model” aims to assist those struggling before they reach a crisis point, and to connect the community to a variety of much needed behavioral health services.
“We’ve seen great success with the hub model in communities like Chelsea, Lawrence and Boston, and are looking forward to putting in place a system that will connect those in need to additional services and support,” Hunter said. “This grant will allow us to address a wide umbrella of behavioral health issues in addition to substance use, including mental health concerns.”
“This is monumental as it will allow for PCO to spearhead an innovative Public Health 3.0 initiative –a first in the U.S.,” said Dr. Nate Horwitz-Willis, director of public health for the town of Plymouth. “This grant will help us address complex substance use challenges seen across our law enforcement, healthcare, and public health communities. We collaboratively look forward to addressing these challenges with best practices and scholarly evidence from all three fields that use primary, secondary, and tertiary equitable prevention approaches with a dynamic team of experts and leaders.”
“The time has come where we need to closer examine the crossover between drug addiction and mental health,” said Scituate Police Chief Michael Stewart. “We are all concerned with the rise in mental health cases.”
The grant will fund the hiring of a full time P.A.A.R.I. hub coordinator who will be based in Plymouth County for the next five years, and will oversee the program.
“Plymouth County Outreach is so fortunate and appreciative to partner with P.A.A.R.I. on expanding our county collaboration, bringing an Integrated Behavioral Health approach to our existing model,” said East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen, a member of the P.A.A.R.I. Law Enforcement Council. “We can’t address substance use and mental health disorders in separate silos.”
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. We provide technical assistance, coaching, grants, and other capacity-building resources to more than 465 police departments in 33 states.
We currently work with more than 120 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. P.A.A.R.I. and our law enforcement partners are working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, thereby reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities. Our programs and partners have saved thousands of lives, changed police culture, and reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic. Learn more at www.paariusa.org.