The COMPASS crisis response team complements and supports the work of New Haven first responders to 911 calls and through outreach. The team consists of a social worker and a peer with lived experience.
COMPASS also meets with service system providers, advocates, faith leaders, and businesses to listen to their concerns about crisis response and collaborate to enhance coordination and integration of services.
The COMPASS Community Advisory Board of New Haven residents meets regularly to ensure that COMPASS remains true to community needs and values.
The COMPASS evaluation includes continuous quality improvement of the crisis team and assessments of COMPASS effectiveness for individuals served, the community, and the service system.
In Summer 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, the City of New Haven funded a planning process to establish a civilian crisis response team to complement and support the work of first responders to 911 calls. Two units of the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) and the Yale Department of Psychiatry – the Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) and The Consultation Center (TCC) – led this process in collaboration with the New Haven Community Services Administration, Department of Community Resilience. CommuniCare, Inc., the CMHC Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit, and Continuum of Care provided additional expertise.
Planning included participation from a cross-section of New Haven stakeholders, including residents, service providers, and first responders. We conducted 14 focus groups, three community forums, and two co-design sessions with community stakeholders most likely to have lived experience of community crisis response. Over 250 people participated in this process, and 83% reported feeling satisfied that their voices were heard. (Please see the Community Input Report [English or Spanish] and the Evaluation of the Community Engagement Process). We also obtained feedback from 50 Greater New Haven crisis service providers from 35 organizations. (The service provider report is available here).
As part of the planning process, we also collaborated with City of New Haven leadership and first responders as well as leadership from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). In addition, we received consultation from Health Management Associates about sustainability. Finally, we participated in a federal Learning Collaborative on Community Crisis Response sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that provided information about best practices used by community crisis programs across the country.