By Corinne Cavender, Behavioral Health Operations Coordinator
Have you heard about the Co-Responder program we have in San Miguel County? Well, if you haven’t, buckle up and read carefully… you’re going to want to take a note of this one.
Recently we had the privilege of interviewing Robin Slater LPC., LAC. for a KOTO Access show. Robin works for the San Miguel County Sheriff’s office and is one of their Crisis Responders. She gave us some insight on their CORE (Co-Responder) Program. When deemed necessary, Robin or her colleague and fellow Crisis Responder Lauren Oliver OTR., L. are deployed for on-scene crisis response. This is instead of or in tandem with an officer, depending on the situation.
By employing this type of response, the Co-Responder Program does the following:
- Reduces peacekeeping calls for service
- Reduces the numbers of incarcerated low-level offenders with mental illness
- Reduces the number of individuals in crisis utilizing clinics or hospital emergency rooms
- Improves early identification and intervention for mentally ill individuals
- Increases the number of effective interventions for community members in crisis
- Improves peace officer access to personal counseling services
Essentially, the use of a Co-Responder model destigmatizes seeking help for mental health related issues and allows for an appropriate response to those in crisis. Robin, Lauren, and the Co-Responder Program are creating a culture where mental health needs are properly addressed and those who need mental health services stay in the behavioral health system, not the jail system.
In our interview, Robin highlighted the use of their own vehicle for transporting those that are in crisis. This is a drastic improvement from putting an individual in the back of a cop car. By responding in this way, individuals are empowered to get the help they need because they no longer feel the pressure of being punished for their condition.
In addition to on-scene crisis response, the Co-Responder Program also includes the following services:
- M.1 Screenings
- M.05 Involuntary Transport Holds
- Community Referrals
- Crisis Family Assistance and Outreach
- Care Systems Coordination
- Case Management Follow-up
- Support Services for Peace Officers/Responders
On behalf of Tri-County Health Network, we are grateful and excited to have this program in our community. We feel it is an incredible move in improving the behavioral health outcomes of San Miguel County residents.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please call the Colorado Crisis Services line at 1-844-493-TALK, or Text “TALK” to 38255. If you are in San Miguel County you can also contact the Sheriff’s dispatch office at 728-1911 and ask for a Crisis Responder.
To listen to the full interview, please click play below.