Our Services

Access to COMPASS is through 911 dispatch or through mobile outreach by the COMPASS crisis response team. When accessed through 911 dispatch, COMPASS is as an additional resource to New Haven Police or New Haven Fire first responders. When accessed through outreach with the COMPASS van, the team engages individuals directly in New Haven. There is no cost for COMPASS services.

COMPASS team with van
COMPASS team in office

A Trauma-Informed Approach

We use a trauma-informed approach in all of our work that follows guidance from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2014). In a trauma-informed informed approach:

  • We realize that trauma can have a significant impact on someone but recovery is possible
  • We recognize specific signs and symptoms a person may have after experiencing trauma
  • We respond in a way that takes the trauma into account
  • We attempt to prevent re-traumatization

The Power of Peers

Our crisis response team includes a peer with lived experience of mental illness and/or addiction who is in recovery. A peer can be especially helpful in making a positive connection with someone during a mental health or substance use crisis.

COMPASS Team on a neighborhood walk

Types of COMPASS Crisis Responses

Individuals in need of assistance due to a mental health or substance use crisis

  • Person feels depressed or someone’s friend is depressed and wants to talk to someone.
  • Person is talking to themselves but doesn’t otherwise require a police response.
  • Person who may be suicidal or at risk of suicide.
    Person who appears to be intoxicated but not otherwise causing a disturbance.
  • Family or friends of the deceased is upset/in shock and asks to/may need to talk to someone.
COMPASS team in office 2
COMPASS team in office 3

Individuals in need of resources or supports due to housing or other service needs

  • Someone is sleeping on the sidewalk and does not appear to have medical needs.
  • Someone has a makeshift shelter and COMPASS could connect the person to resources.
  • Support for a child if a caregiver is incapacitated or taken into custody and DCF has been contacted.

What COMPASS Can & Cannot Do

What we can do

  • Respond to crises based on requests from police & fire and through self-initiated outreach.
  • Refer people in crisis to services, with priority given to diverting individuals from emergency department admissions or incarceration.
  • Consult to police & fire on scene about mental health/addiction needs & services.
  • Transport a person in the COMPASS van to services so long as there is no medical emergency requiring care or the person is not being taken into custody.

What we cannot do

  • Admit someone in crisis to the hospital without their consent.
  • Provide services outside of New Haven.
  • Split the two-person team to respond to multiple crisis calls at the same time.
Photo of the New Haven Green