Mat-Su Crisis Response Team Receives Bert Hall Award for Commitment to Community Health

Bert Hall, sitting center, with representatives from the Mat-Su Crisis Response Team and Mat-Su Health Foundation.

Wasilla, Alaska — Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) announced yesterday that it awarded the Mat-Su Crisis Response Team with the 2024 Bert Hall Award for their work in improving the health of the community.

The Mat-Su Crisis Response Team developed a program in which behavioral health service providers accompany traditional emergency 911 responders serving people experiencing behavioral health crises. As a result, many emergencies now get a response from these trained service providers who have the expertise to properly intervene, de-escalate situations, and refer people in crisis to services and resources.

“This co-response model has yielded positive results for both the first responders and service providers,” said Elizabeth Ripley, President of MSHF. “But more importantly, this change in how our system supports community members has delivered better outcomes for individuals who are experiencing perhaps the worst day of their lives—all by getting them connected to services other than jail or the emergency department.”

This co-response model has been successfully incorporated into the 911 dispatch system at Matcom and Palmer Dispatch. In the last year, this project has made a difference for over 200 individuals experiencing a behavioral health emergency in the Mat-Su Borough.

The Crisis Response Team has also developed a post-crisis system of several different connector agencies to which first responders can refer clients after successful intervention and de-escalation. These connector agencies help navigate and coordinate care for behavioral health clients as they get moved on to appropriate care within the community, reducing the chance they will have to rely upon 911 in the future to maintain their mental health.

There has been tremendous growth in the Mat-Su crisis response system in recent years, including the adoption of the national 988 helpline, the 911 mobile crisis co-response, seven different crisis intervention trainings attended by over 150 first responders, and increased training in mental health first aid.

The members of the Mat-Su Crisis Response team are:

  • Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
  • Alaska State Troopers
  • Alaska Youth and Family Network
  • Actionable Data Consulting
  • Daybreak, Inc.
  • Emergency Medical Services, Mat-Su Borough
  • LINKS Resource Center
  • Matcom 911
  • Palmer Dispatch
  • Palmer Police Department
  • True North Recovery, Inc.
  • Wasilla Police Department

The work of the Mat-Su Crisis Response Team is supported by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, MSHF, and numerous community and governmental agencies.

The Bert Hall Award, or “Bertie”, is an annual recognition presented to an individual or organization that consistently exemplifies commitment to working at the systems level to improve the health and wellness of Mat-Su residents. It was created in 2013 in honor of Mat-Su resident Bert Hall. Previous Bert Hall Award recipients include Mark Lackey (2023), John Weaver (2022), the Mat-Su Borough School District Health Advisory Team (2021), Kimberly Schlosser (2020), Lt. Tom Dunn (2019), Rachel Greenberg (2018), Bill Hogan (2017), Herman Thompson (2016), Margaret Volz (2015), Craig Thorn (2014) and Bert Hall himself (2013).

 About Mat-Su Health Foundation

The mission of the Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su. Through grantmaking, convening of local partners, and policy change, the foundation’s work has resulted in significant improvements in systems that support the health of Mat-Su residents in areas such as behavioral health, child welfare, crisis response, community connections, workforce development, transportation, housing, and senior services. More information is available at