Douglas County clinicians to help respond to mental health calls
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - E-911 dispatchers processed more than 400 suicide-related calls for service in Douglas County last year. And this year, they have a plan to better respond to those critical calls.
“Once a call comes into 911 at that time it will be determined if it’s a behavioral health call and we’ll have the behavioral health professional right there and ready to respond,” Douglas County Fire & EMS Public Information Director Rick Martin.
Douglas County officials unanimously approved a new first responders program this week. They will now be placing a behavioral health expert in the E911 center. Plus, first responders will be teamed up with a state-certified clinician to handle those emergency calls in the community.
“We have about 8 behavioral health clinicians who will be traveling with our Fire and EMS teams around the county. They will be strategically placed to respond to behavioral health or mental health emergencies that may occur,” Martin said.
County officials believe the mental health specialists will help them properly care for those in need and free up crews to respond to other emergency calls.
“They’re strategically able to really de-escalate a situation. There are going to be emergencies where police are on location, fire, and EMS are on location and some situations will need help and assistance that may not necessarily require going to jail but be able to deescalate and understand,” Martin said. “There’s a need, there’s a demand, and we’re here to provide that support.”
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