Support Team Assisted Response (STAR)

Support Team Assisted Response (STAR)

About Support Team Assisted Response (STAR)

Our goal is to send the right people to help with crises related to mental health, homelessness and more. Learn more about this program below.

What is STAR?

Launched on June 1, 2020, STAR is a partnership between the WellPower, Denver Health, Denver Police Department, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment as well as community stakeholders like Caring4Denver and more.

STAR provides person-centric mobile crisis response to community members who are experiencing problems related to mental health, depression, poverty, homelessness, and/or substance use issues.

How does it work?

Before the STAR program began, Denver's 911 system was limited to addressing 911 calls through traditional ways, like sending police. Calls for health and safety issues were routed one of two ways; either they went through the police or the health/hospital system. STAR created a third option.

When someone calls 911 for something like a mental health crisis, substance use issue or even something like homelessness or poverty, their call can now be routed to STAR. STAR sends a licensed behavioral health professional and a paramedic to the person in distress.

When the STAR mobile unit arrives, the individual in crisis can be assured that the interaction is grounded in a harm reduction, trauma-informed philosophy. The team, dressed in street clothes, provides direct clinical de-escalation and community service connections, as well as on-demand resources such as water, food, clothing and basic living supports.

What does this mean for the community?

Ultimately, the success of STAR will be measured by resolving crises and connecting people to services. The Denver Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Paul M. Pazen and with the support of 911 emergency services, has put a significant emphasis on creating alternatives to a traditional criminal justice approach.

The program is producing paradigm shift results. In its inaugural year, STAR has successfully responded to 1,396 calls. Of those, there were no arrests, no injuries and no need for police back up. We've learned from these calls that expanding the program can help further reduce the need for law enforcement and emergency medical services to respond to 911 calls in certain crises, like intoxication, welfare checks, indecent exposure and more.
As the STAR program expands, this means fewer people will go to jail or need to use emergency medical services for calls the STAR team can address.

To contact STAR directly for yourself or another person, please call 720-913-STAR (7827). STAR operates Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.

If you don’t know where to begin getting mental health, substance use or emotional help for yourself or someone you know—start here. We provide confidential and immediate support, 24/7/365. If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, you can:

  • Call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) to speak to a trained professional.
  • Text TALK to 38255
  • Visit any Walk-In CenterThe nearest one to WellPower services is located at 4353 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80220