Richmond Substance Use and Mental Health Mobile Integrated Health Program
Need: To reduce the number of overdose deaths in Richmond, Indiana and connect people in need of mental health treatment to community resources.
Intervention: A mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) program that connects social workers with people who have just experienced a mental health crisis or overdose.
Results: More than 320 people have been referred to Richmond's MIH programs since June 2022.
In 2021, the Richmond Fire Department in Richmond,
Indiana received a grant from the Indiana Department of
Health to create a community paramedicine program that
would address prevalent public health challenges in the
community, with a primary focus on addressing opioid
overdoses and mental illness. When the department had
difficulty hiring a community paramedic due to a regional
workforce challenges, it pivoted to create a Mobile
Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program staffed by two social
workers. The program officially launched in June of 2022.
Since then, the department has partnered with a local
recovery hub in a neighboring county, which supplied two
peer recovery specialists to work alongside the social
The MIH program aims to connect people experiencing a
mental health crisis, or those who have just experienced
an overdose, with community resources. (The program also
works with older adults to reduce falls in the home.)
People are referred into the program by law enforcement
and other first responders: When city police,
firefighters, EMS or other first responders are called to
an overdose or a mental health crisis in Richmond, they
refer that person to the MIH team after addressing the
person's immediate needs. The MIH team will then follow
up with that person within 24-48 hours to see what
additional resources or treatment the person might need.
Once the MIH team has made contact with someone, they can
help to connect that person to a variety of community
resources or treatment services. In the following weeks
or months, the MIH team may follow up one or more times
with the person to continue assisting them. Ideally,
these visits take place in person at the person's home.
The MIH team also conducts street outreach efforts,
including handing out bags containing water bottles,
naloxone, and information about local resources to
homeless members of the community.
Since June 2022, more than 320 people have been referred
to the MIH substance use, mental health, and fall risk
Program organizers say the biggest challenge in
establishing the program was getting word out about it in
the community and getting other community stakeholders on
board. A year and a half into the program and many
meetings later, community members are largely aware of
the program and there is support for the program in the
Another challenge can be gaining the trust of the people
the program serves, who may associate the program with
law enforcement and be hesitant to engage. The
involvement of recovery coaches has been helpful in this
regard. Program organizers say that going out to talk to
people and meeting them where they are is key to building
Talking with other existing MIH programs around the
country, including riding along with programs in Ohio and
Indiana, was helpful for Wayne County program organizers
when they were figuring out what the MIH program would
look like. They encourage other communities interested in
launching their own programs to talk to other MIH
Conducting empathy and stigma training for the local fire
and police departments has also been helpful in getting
people on board with the program; organizers encourage
other departments to do the same. All employees of the
Richmond Fire Department and Richmond Police Department
received this training.
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.