Federal funding will help expand Macon-Bibb’s partnership with River Edge Behavioral Health, where first responders and mental health experts respond together to health emergencies
Macon, Ga. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is delivering new funding to strengthen mental health and law enforcement resources in Macon-Bibb County.
Sen. Ossoff is delivering a $140,000 Federal grant through the U.S. Department of Justice to expand partnerships between the River Edge Behavioral Health and Macon-Bibb County’s Sheriff’s Office to respond to substance abuse and mental health emergencies.
The program is a coordinated effort that pairs employees of the Sheriff’s Office and River Edge to respond to emergency calls that appear to involve behavioral health or substance abuse events. This model utilizes the combined expertise of the Sheriff’s Office and River Edge specialists to deescalate the given situation and connect individuals to the proper mental health resources.
“When first responders enter a situation with someone in a crisis, we want to ensure they have the training and backup they need to defuse the situation and make sure that everyone emerges safely,” Sen. Ossoff said. “I brought Republicans and Democrats together to deliver these resources to support mental health care services and law enforcement efforts to keep families safe.”
Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said, “The co-responder initiative is a game changer in how law enforcement and behavioral health professionals work together to find a sympathetic way to help individuals in crisis avoid becoming another jail statistic. We are very grateful for Senator Ossoff’s leadership in obtaining this DOJ grant to help fund this life changing opportunity.“
“We are grateful for funding and our partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. Macon-Bibb County’s co-responder program will be a positive change in the way we engage individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and / or homelessness, by diverting them to proper mental health resources provided by River Edge,” said River Edge CEO Cass Hatcher.
“We’re very grateful for Senator Ossoff’s commitment to funding de-escalation training and co-responding coordination. This grant will be a vital resource for the safety of our law enforcement officers and our neighbors experiencing mental health crises,” said Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Seth Clark.
Sen. Ossoff continues to support law enforcement and resources for addressing mental health crises.
Last year, the Senate passed Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to fund law enforcement and mental health services by funding trainings for first responders; crisis intervention teams; mental health courts; and other programs that help law enforcement assist individuals experiencing mental illness.
Sen. Ossoff also pushed for the bipartisan Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act of 2022, legislation he co-sponsored to improve public safety and help law enforcement respond to calls involving mental health emergencies.
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