New grant aims to support mental health in Lexington

The Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services has provided a grant intended to support a new crisis response team.

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The city receives ~3,000 mental health calls each year. | Photo courtesy of @thedronerangerky

A new federal grant from the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services aims to better support mental health crises in Lexington.

The three-year, $850,000 grant comes from a partnership between the Lexington Fire and Police Departments. It will allow them to hire full-time mental health professionals to assist on certain calls — a suggestion outlined in Mayor Linda Gorton’s 2020 Commission for Racial Justice + Equality report.

After analyzing 911 call data, Fire Capt. Seth Lockard found that the majority of mental health calls come in during the week and drop off during the evenings + weekends. With the grant, the Crisis Response Team will work weekdays, in hopes of paving the way for a better division of responsibilities among the departments.

“It will make it possible for us to provide the most appropriate response to an individual in crisis and connect them to the best resource,” said Mayor Gorton.