This App Is A 911 Alternative For People Having A Mental Health-Related Emergency

For times when police intervention isn't what's needed.

In just the last two years alone, we've seen countless reports of police intervention gone awry due to police enforcement's mishandling of mental health emergencies. In an effort to serve a safer alternative to mental health related crises, Jacob Savage created Concrn -— a San-Francisco-based app that connects callers with properly trained responders with backgrounds in social work, emergency medical training, and the like.

Savage grew up with dreams of becoming a police officer; he spent his teen years as a cadet at his local police department. However, after learning about the harsh realities of our country's justice system and discovering the existence of police alternative groups, Savage shifted his perspective and chose to design a program that would safely serve San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. 


"Instead of looking at a crisis as a problem, we frame it as an opportunity — an opportunity for growth, an opportunity for healing, and an opportunity for a trusting relationship with someone," explained Savage in Concrn's informational video above.

TechCrunch reports that 80 percent of calls to the San Francisco Police Department are mental health-related. "We see de-escalation as a silver bullet, but that is based on the understanding that you're dealing with a rational person who will stop and listen to commands," Jim Dudley, a retired San Francisco police deputy chief and lecturer at San Francisco State University, told The Mercury News

In 2014, Diana Showman was fatally shot by San Jose PD after approaching officers with a cordless drill during a mental health-related episode. "One of the frustrations we faced was we wanted our daughter in inpatient treatment," the victim's mother, Vicki Showman, told The Mercury News. "We were told that when a crisis occurred, call 911. I would never call 911 again for any situation dealing with a mentally ill situation."

Concrn is said to offer a more compassionate approach to dealing with mental health emergencies. The responders provide on-the-scene assistance, are trained to manage crises, and can assess whether or not police intervention is necessary. Some emergencies can be resolved by walking the person to a shelter or even just getting in touch with a case manager. It's this type of concern and understanding that can help save lives.

Of course, San Francisco isn't the only city facing issues when it comes to police brutality regarding mental health emergencies. According to TechCrunch, the app hopes to make its format accessible for other police alternative groups in other cities across the country. "Our belief is that when community members, service providers, government agencies are all communicating and coordinating together through Concrn, we create a more effective path to resilience for vulnerable people in need of support."

A Plus has reached out to Jacob Savage for comment. 

(H/T: Teen Vogue)

Cover image via Shutterstock


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