The Neighborhood Center’s Mobile Crisis Assessment Team Receives National SAMHSA Award
Mar. 7 2023

The Neighborhood Center’s Mobile Crisis Assessment Team Receives National SAMHSA Award

Utica, NY— The Neighborhood Center, Inc.’s Mobile Crisis Assessment Team (MCAT) has been awarded one of twelve national Cooperative Agreements for Innovative Community Crisis Response Partnerships grants by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The highly competitive grant will fund an expansion to the existing MCAT which provides 24/7 mobile crisis response services in Oneida and Herkimer counties. Peer Advocacy services will be doubled with the addition of three more Advocates to support clients in the recovery of mental health and substance use. The remaining funds will expand MCAT’s Crisis Response Team (CRT).

The CRT project was initially piloted with grant funds from the Oneida-Herkimer Community Foundation, and in partnership with the Utica Police Department, Oneida County Department of Mental Health and The Neighborhood Center. The pilot began in April 2021. The innovative co-response program partners a licensed mental health professional with a law enforcement officer as an embedded team located at the law enforcement agency. The Team responds to real-time community behavioral health crises to divert from unnecessary hospitalizations or arrests by linking individuals to ongoing services. In addition the team conducts ongoing outreach with persons experiencing barriers to engaging in treatment. MCAT’s Law Enforcement Partnership Crisis Program Coordinator, Michael Pracht states, “Our goal is to improve overall safety in the community, connect people with mental health services, reduce instances of incarceration, and assist law enforcement with managing mental health crises. I believe this will greatly enhance law enforcement’s ability to safely and effectively handle calls involving people struggling with their mental health which ultimately builds greater trust in our law enforcement, mental health systems, and improves the overall quality of life of our communities.”
The new grant funds will support the addition of an evening shift Crisis Counselor to Utica Police Department and 2 new positions will be embedded in the precincts of Herkimer Police Department and Oneida County Sheriff. MCAT is canvassing for the vacancies and looking for qualified mental health or registered nurse candidates with extensive experience in providing trauma-informed and person-centered behavioral health services. Applicants may submit their resumes through The Neighborhood Center’s website.

The Mobile Crisis Assessment Team provides 24/7 mobile and/or telephonic crisis response in Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie Counties. Crisis Counselors are able to offer behavioral health support, crisis intervention and de-escalation services via telephone, virtual and in-person response. Services may be accessed via the 24/7 local crisis line phone number: 315-732-MCAT (6228) or 988. In December 2022, the Team began a live call center endeavor with 988/National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on a 24/7 basis that mirrors their local crisis line. For more information about our services visit our website