Seven mobile crisis-response grants allow ‘better treatment, a lot quicker’ for people undergoing mental-health crises

Kentucky Health News

Seven local-government organizations are getting grants to start community crisis co-response programs, which form partnerships between behavioral-health professionals, law enforcement or other first responders and local governments in order to lower the distress of individuals in crisis and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and incarcerations while extending crisis services to communities.

The money comes through a state Cabinet for Health and Family Services grant. The recipients are Boyle County, Christian County, the Cynthiana Police Department, the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, the Maysville Police Department, the Perry County Ambulance Authority and the Warren County sheriff, in Bowling Green.

Perry County EMT Scott Helle told Hazard’s WYMT that in a mental-health crisis, taking a patient to a hospital can be a burden on hospital staff and adding “wait time for their patients to be able to see a mental-health provider.” The grant will allow the ambulance service to add a community paramedic, peer support specialist or case manager to its staff.

“It will give us the opportunity to give them better treatment, a lot quicker,” Helle said, adding that the pilot grants will help other communuties create similar teams.

Mike Rogers, director of Boyle County Emergency Medical Services, said in a state news release, “The implementation of this grant in Danville will ease the burden on our law enforcement, hospital, judicial system and emergency services.”

Robert Peak, assistant police chief in Cynthiana, said This will be an invaluable resource to the most vulnerable members of our citizenry. Realizing that mental health and chemical dependency cannot be fully addressed by traditional police strategies is key to implementing programs such as this.”

Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said, “Having qualified professionals working alongside our team of law enforcement will help expedite and assess the needed care for those in crisis, which better serves our community.”Several recipients sent the state videos about what they hope the funding will do in their communities. To see the video provided by Maysville police, click here. To see a video from Boyle County, click here. To see a video from Helle, click here.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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