Missoula’s crisis response team still boots on ground as funding remains uncertain

On a sunny Thursday in Missoula, emergency medical technician Nick Stahler passed a football back and forth with a young woman outside of the Johnson Street Shelter.

The client, just 20 years old, was thinking of hurting herself. In plain clothes, carrying just a radio and some basic supplies, Stahler and Colin Roberts, a licensed clinical social worker, responded to the shelter and spent several minutes with the woman throwing the football back and forth, assessing her needs and going over the tailored safety plan the woman already had in place.

Stahler and Roberts are two of 16 people that make up the Mobile Support Team, Missoula’s crisis response unit dedicated to mental health and substance abuse issue calls. The team is part of the Missoula Fire Department but functions as a behavioral response service. It replaces a traditional police response that’s available through calling 911, said John Petroff, MST operations manager.

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Quinn Mawhinney, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Missoula Mobile Support Team, walks around the grounds at the Poverello Center after checking

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