TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) -In an effort to understand mental health better, the Department of Health and Welfare and local law enforcement are teaming up to create a mobile crisis unit.

This is how it works, if law enforcement encounter what they believe to be a mental health crisis, they call over a team with the Behavioral Health Division. Once the mental health professionals are called to the scene, they can deescalate the situation and determine whether that incident is a mental health crisis or not. Also, they will determine if the situation can be better solved with alternative measures.

“Maybe we can take them to crisis center instead of jail or the ER. Because a lot of times they don’t need to go to jail or be put in Canyon View. It could just be that they’re having a bad day,” explained Bill Patterson, who is a peer support specialist with the Department of Health and Welfare’s Behavioral Health Division. Patterson has personally been saved from going to prison after a mental health program helped him rehabilitate.

A meeting is scheduled in August with law enforcement and other local agencies, to set this plan in motion.

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