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Douglas County Fire/EMS, E-911 & Douglas County CSB Launch Co-Responders Program
Douglas County, GA - The Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously 4-0 at its Tuesday, March 7, 2023, legislative voting meeting on an agreement between the Douglas County E-911 Operations Center and the Douglas County Community Services Board (CSB) to provide care to persons in Douglas County who are experiencing a behavioral health emergency.
“We are thrilled at this next phase of support we are presenting for people in Douglas County,” said Dr. Romona Jackson Jones, Chairwoman of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. “The coordination between the Douglas County E-911 and Douglas County CSB is to ensure the citizens and people inside Douglas County are provided with adequate emotional support during an emergency if needed.”
In addition to the E-911 Operations Center, the Douglas County Fire/EMS Department will collaborate with the Douglas County CSB, where first responders will be teamed up with behavioral health clinicians.
“Having an in-house mental health professional will allow our citizens experiencing crisis immediate access to care,” Deputy Fire Chief Dr. Miles Allen said. “We predict family members in our community will start to see extraordinary experiences from our dedicated and supportive staff.”
Georgia Senate Bill 403, named Georgia Behavioral Health and Peace Officer Co-Responder Act, supports the presence of a behavioral health specialist during a mental health emergency. “We’re grateful that the Georgia Senate passed a bill that further expresses support to not only provide care coordination to people within Douglas County experiencing a behavioral health emergency but also provide emotional support to family or bystanders of the emergency,” said Douglas County Fire/EMS Public Information Director Rick Martin.
The co-responders, who are Georgia-certified and CSB-trained behavioral health professionals from the Never Alone Club House in Douglasville, have been undergoing orientation and training with Fire/EMS staff on county policies, protocols, and procedures.
“Last year, Douglas County E-911 processed 409 suicide or suicidal ideation calls for service,” said Katrina Hartley, Director of Douglas County’s E-911 Operations Center. “The most recent call data received from the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline from October - December 2022 places Douglas County within the top 20 counties in Georgia where residents have dialed 988.”
The co-responder program will continue to help the individual(s) after their behavioral health emergency. The behavioral health specialists and community service boards continue to reach out to the individual(s) involved by providing various follow-up services to stabilize the individual(s) and reduce any chance of relapse.