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New crisis collaboration: Manitou Springs and UCHealth partnering on calls

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-27 20:45:57-05

MANITOU SPRINGS — Calls to 911 involving behavioral health issues will now get a different kind of response in Manitou Springs.

“It's going to involve one of our officers being paired up with a clinician from UCHealth,” said Commander Corey Sevene with Manitou Springs Police Department.

“We've just found it to be so helpful in deterring patients from unnecessarily needing to go to the hospital or into the, into the jail system, said UCHealth/Memorial Hospital Behavioral Health Manager, Andrea Wood.

Manitou Springs officers responded to 760 behavioral health calls in 2022.

It is things like mental health issues, substance abuse and domestic violence.

Officers do train for these situations, but collaboration with licensed UCHealth clinicians raises the odds of a better outcome on these calls.

“That's going to give a lot more knowledge and a lot more experience to the scene. And they're going to be able to tell what options these people have, or what resources they're going to need,” said Sevene.

The goal is fewer arrests and more referrals to resources offering professional help.

It frees up police for other calls, keeps these cases from clogging emergency rooms, and most importantly gets people in crisis to the most appropriate intevention sooner.

Wood said, “If you're placed in the back of a police car or in an ambulance, it really can increase anxiety also can increase finances for someone.

The unit is called Manitou Crisis Response, but the goal goes beyond crisis intervention.

They want everyone in the community to know who they are and feel comfortable having a conversation.

It may be about their own mental health, or someone they think might need help.

If we can be proactive, and preventative, I think we can have a great relationship with people in this community,” said Wood.

The collaboration begins at the first of March.
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