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CAHOOTS shares its crisis intervention and de-escalation model as an online course

Brian Bull
In this 2018 photo, a woman fleeing a domestic violence situation talks to CAHOOTS and EPD personnel at a motel.

For 32 years, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets – better known as CAHOOTS – has operated across Eugene-Springfield as a mobile crisis intervention service. It’s been credited with de-escalating fraught situations and helping people find support for their mental health challenges or addictions.

Now the White Bird Clinic’s executive coordinator, Chris Hecht, says they’re offering their model as an 8-week, online course for non-profits, governments, and community groups who want to explore their approach, and possibly introduce it into their own communities across the nation.

“We have a chance to save lives,” Hecht told KLCC. “We have a chance to free up police departments, so they can focus on protecting the community from violent criminals. We have a chance to save money, and we have a chance to do better for community members in their moments of crisis.”

Tuition is $4,000 for a team of five participants, with scholarships available for non-profits. Called Building and Sustainably Implementing Community Mobile Crisis Response (BASIC-MCR), participants will learn the nuts and bolts of running a CAHOOTS-type program.

“One thing that’s stuck with me since I heard it, was a CAHOOTS staff member casually saying, ‘You know, really often I see people on the worst day of their life,’” said Hecht.

Brian Bull
CAHOOTS has been supported by local and state leaders, including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (center) who penned the CAHOOTS Act to support similar programming across the country.

“We have an opportunity and frankly, a responsibility to do better for people on that worst day of their life. And a program like CAHOOTS can literally be a life changer for someone.”

CAHOOTS has worked alongside the Eugene Police Department in de-escalating situations and finding help for people suffering breakdowns or addiction. The program is not a certification program; participation does not result in any type of CAHOOTS credentials or endorsement of any programs it inspires.

Hecht said course will be held three times a year. All proceeds will support the CAHOOTS program.

Copyright @2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.