Tulsa Implements Project Blue Streets, Helps People Get Mental Health Care

Wednesday, October 2nd 2019, 6:14 am
By: Mallory Thomas

After a year of research, a new project is being implemented in Tulsa that could mean police officers spending less time at hospitals with patients and more time back out on patrol.

Dr. Jason Beaman, the chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, said for the last year he's been working on Project Blue Streets.

Beaman says Tulsa Police officers do a good job of knowing which calls they go to are dealing with someone struggling with mental health issues.

He says in the past an officer would have to take the person to the emergency room and wait for tests and lab work to come back before they could be taken to the psychiatric hospital. But Beaman says Project Blue Street changes that process.

"they've been trying to make that decision for years, but when they go to the psych hospital they're automatically sent to the ER. So, this protocol stops that. We want the police officers to use their judgment. But if they make a mistake, it's not a big deal because we can always send a patient to the ER from the psych hospital without involving the police" said Beaman. 

Dr. Beaman says they've already been using this new protocol for the last year and have seen success.