Belton Takes Steps to Address Mental Health Issues in the Community
Published on October 26, 2023
Belton, MO – 10/26/2023
In a move towards a more compassionate and community-focused approach, the City of Belton is excited to announce the creation of a new position within the Belton Police Department dedicated to handling calls related to mental health issues. This initiative aims to provide an effective response to individuals in our community who are facing mental health challenges.
Historically, the justice system has not been equipped to address the complex needs of those experiencing mental health issues. To bridge this gap and to better serve our community, Belton is joining other cities in the KC Metro in creating a Behavioral Health Co-Responder position. This position is aimed at diverting individuals with mental health concerns away from the justice system and towards the support and assistance they need.
Belton is proud to partner with Compass Health Network, a leading organization in mental health services, to make this program a reality. Compass Health Network will provide expertise and resources to ensure that those in need of mental health support receive the care and attention they deserve.
The Behavioral Health Co-Responder will be funded by the State of Missouri Crisis Intervention Program grant secured by the Belton Police Department. The Co-Responder will work alongside Belton Police Officers on many calls (some calls are too dangerous to be involved) related to individuals with mental health issues. The Behavioral Health Co-Responder will also help ensure appropriate follow up care for those in need of services. This new position underscores Belton's commitment to a holistic and compassionate approach to public safety.
Chief Scott Lyons believes embedding a Mental Health Co-Responder, in collaboration with Compass Health Network, is a natural evolution of our Crisis Intervention Team, as well as upgrading our program to match contemporary best practice. This new resource will allow the police department to better use and deploy its resources while allowing Compass Health Network immediate access to those in crisis. The common goal of both agencies is to meet the needs of our community in an effective and timely manner, ultimately reducing the number of calls for service for the police.
The City of Belton is excited to be at the forefront of this critical shift in public safety and mental health. This innovative approach will not only benefit individuals in need but will also contribute to a stronger, more united community.
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