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Oakland Groups Work To Replace Police Responses To Mental Health Crises

Photo provided by Anti-Police Terror Project
Anti-Police Terror Project launched MH First in Oakland last year.

Last year, Cat Brooks’ Anti Police-Terror Project launched MH First Oakland, a response service to people in mental health crises. In this interview, she talks about their progress and the Oakland Fire Department working towards replacing police as first-responders to mental health calls.

Let's stop attaching mental health crises to violence.

Oakland's efforts to implement non-police responses to mental health crises have been up and down. Most recently, the city council agreed to consider having the fire department respond to mental health calls. This happened after two nonprofits in the running to overrun Mobile Assistance Community Responders, or MACRO, backed out. 

We discuss the direction the city is heading with defunding the police, the city getting MACRO started, APTP’s MH First service, and mental health stigma. 

If you live in Oakland and you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, you can call MH First at (510) 999-9MH1.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.