HARRISBURG – Philadelphia Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Morgan Cephas have introduced legislation to authorize the PA Department of Human Services to administer county and regionally operated Crisis Call Centers and Behavioral Health Response Units to respond to calls arising due to mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and homelessness. The lawmakers said over the years, police have become the default first responders for such individuals. This has often led to incidents that result in officers – who are not crisis specialists – killing or injuring a person who just needed help in a time of crisis. The measure will allow for individuals with behavioral crisis training to address these issues with police assistance. The Behavioral Health Response Units would be staffed by EMS personnel, crisis counselors, and peer specialists who would provide individuals with immediate stabilization in cases of urgent medical need or psychological crisis, referrals to treatment when appropriate, and information on what resources are available to the person so they can access the help they need.

REP. MORGAN CEPHAS

REP. STEPHEN KINSEY