City of Galveston COAST Multidisciplinary Response Program
SUMMARY – COAST is a multidisciplinary, comprehensive response program to improve 9-1-1 mental health emergency call response in the Galveston area designed by the Meadows Institute in partnership with Galveston city and county officials, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and other regional foundations.
people booked in Galveston County jail screened positive for a mental health condition*
Galveston launches the COAST program - View Release
Launched in May 2023, this program establishes Compassionate Open Access to Services and Treatment (COAST) Teams consisting of a licensed mental health clinician from the Gulf Coast Center, a paramedic from the Galveston Fire Department, and a specially trained Galveston police officer working together to effectively respond to individuals experiencing mental health crises.
COAST Teams offer a health-focused response to behavioral health emergencies, specially designed to provide immediate mental health assistance onsite and connect patients to ongoing care.
Operating out of the Gulf Coast Center offices, the teams are available in 12-hour shifts Monday through Saturday and 8-hour shifts on Sundays. When not answering calls, they conduct proactive and follow-up outreach to individuals in need of services. At Galveston’s 9-1-1 Call Center, call takers and dispatchers receive extensive training to recognize and triage mental health emergency calls. The call center also implemented a “fourth option” asking if the caller needs mental health services alongside police, fire, or EMS.
This program is part of a larger effort to transform mental health emergency response in communities across Texas and nationally.
The COAST program was designed by the Meadows Institute and financially supported through a public-private partnership. Funders include the Moody Foundation, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Harris & Eliza Kempner Fund, Ippolito Charitable Foundation, Mary Moody Northen Endowment, and the Sasser Family Foundation.
The question we are asking public policymakers needs to shift from ‘Why did we send police?’ to ‘Why did we send only police?’ Galveston’s COAST Team provides a better way of caring for all residents, equitably and with dignity.
– B.J. Wagner, Senior Vice President of Health & Safety, the Meadows Institute
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