A new project will bring an approach to mental health emergencies that doesn’t include the emergency room.

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Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority will split a $499,790.95 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund over two years.

It will fund three Family Assessment and Safety Teams (F.A.S.T.) for families and kids in crisis across six counties: Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Wexford, Missaukee, Crawford and Roscommon.

The program is a community effort with several organizations including Pine Rest Clinic of Traverse City, Munson Medical Center, Northern Lakes Community Mental Health, Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan’s Third Level, departments of health and human services and Northern Family Intervention Services.

Munson Medical Center’s behavioral health director Terri Kelty says, “The whole goal of the grant is to be able to provide outreach services to the child and family in crisis at the point of the crisis to help mitigate that situation and then to follow up with that family.”

The project is still at the planning and hiring stages, but is expected to be running within the next six months.