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Trinity Services, Inc. Receives 2022 CQL Award of Excellence

Trinity Services, Inc. is the recipient of a 2022 CQL Award of Excellence in recognition of their efforts in creating a Mobile Crisis Response Unit (MCRU), in partnership with the Orland Park Police Department. The award, presented by CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership, highlights Trinity Services, Inc.’s initiative to provide timely and proper care for those experiencing a mental health crisis. The MCRU ensures that people are able to receive real-time, thorough, and in-depth assistance when they need it most. 

“This is such a timely and important issue. We’re so impressed that Trinity Services, Inc. has helped lead this project to support those in crisis,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. “It’s an absolute honor to recognize them through the CQL Awards of Excellence.” 

The project aims to produce better outcomes when law enforcement officers respond to a mental health crisis. It equips the Orland Park Police Department with a system for connecting and collaborating with Trinity Service Inc.’s mental health professionals. These professionals work together with law enforcement and other first responders on the scene to help people who are experiencing mental health or substance use related issues. 

Inside the Project 

The MCRU was funded by a Mental Health Collaboration grant from the United States Department of Justice. It was initiated through a joint venture between Trinity Services, Inc. and the Orland Park Police Department, in partnership with DePaul University. Considering that adults with severe mental illness account for 1 in 4 people killed in police encounters, this project is an important measure to address the understanding that mental health crises should not be criminal justice matters.  

“We are grateful and honored to receive this award and excited to continue to expand our work with our partners in law enforcement,” says Thane Dykstra, CEO of Trinity Services, Inc. “This program helps connect people to needed mental health services and resources with the hope of decreasing the frequency of mental health crisis events that result in calls to law enforcement.” 

The MCRU developed a multi-step process built upon open lines of communication, teamwork among all stakeholders, and coordination of roles and responsibilities. When a dispatcher receives a call for assistance involving a mental health crisis, they then contact a crisis intervention trained (CIT) law enforcement officer. The officer then responds to the call, heads to the scene, and if needed, requests through dispatch that a mental health professional from Trinity Services Inc. join the officer at the scene. While waiting for the professional from Trinity Services, Inc. to arrive, the officer assesses the situation and establishes rapport with the person involved. After the mental health professional arrives, they are then able to engage with the person, evaluate the risk of harm, and develop options for how the CIT officer can resolve the situation while reviewing further treatment options and appropriate next steps for the person involved. 

“Starting in October 2021, this program expanded to include neighboring police departments,” adds Bonnie Hassan, Director of Outpatient Services of Trinity Services Inc. “Since this time, the police departments have identified 525 mental health related calls that resulted either in contact with a MCRU clinicians for consultation or a referral for follow up services. The positive impact of the MCRU has already been demonstrated by less hospitalizations and fewer repeat calls, freeing up officers to respond to other important issues.” 

Through this project, Trinity Services, Inc. is helping to expand the availability of mental health support while assisting local law enforcement in appropriate approaches to mental health crises. The organization’s efforts help build stronger communities where the members of those communities are receiving services that are relevant to their particular needs. 

About Trinity Services, Inc. 

Trinity Services, Inc., founded in 1950, is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that provides the highest quality person-directed services and supports to people with developmental disabilities and mental illness so that they may flourish and live full and abundant lives. 

Trinity serves more than 5,800 adults and children who have intellectual/developmental disabilities or mental health needs. Trinity’s mission to help people flourish is at the heart of all it offers, including residential services, numerous community day services, employment services, a school, therapeutic horseback riding, respite services, a recreation center, a range of therapeutic services, and more. Services are provided in more than 30 Illinois communities in the Southwest, Northwest and Western Suburbs of Chicago, as well as Southern and Central Illinois. 

About the CQL Awards of Excellence 

The CQL Awards of Excellence recognize individuals, organizations, and/or systems that exemplify the very best in human services for people with disabilities. The 2022 award recipients were selected among numerous submissions by entities that have achieved CQL Accreditation and/or CQL Certification. Since the CQL Awards of Excellence was first established in 2015, there have been just over a dozen recipients of this prestigious designation. 

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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.