BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC – October 27, 2023 – As reported in a press release by Aaron Sarver from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, this summer, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Buncombe County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Community Paramedic Program has developed a program to provide acute crisis intervention and follow-up referrals for Buncombe County residents who experience behavioral health challenges. The program’s goal is to get people, who may be experiencing an overdose, mental health crisis, and/or substance use disorder, early intervention and referral to providers of care. In the past, many people suffering from behavioral health challenges found themselves dealing with the criminal justice system and without benefit of early intervention and follow-up health care. This program, called the Co-Responder Unit, responded to 191 calls over 2 months this summer. No arrests were made as a result of these calls for assistance. The Co-Responder Unit consists of licensed mental health professionals that have been contracted by EMS and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.
Taylor Jones, the Buncombe County Emergency Services Director says, “The unity and teamwork shown between our departments is truly what sets this program apart from anything we’ve done previously. This program combines mental health, safety, and security and fosters a foundation of trust with public safety. We are able to treat our community members in crisis with the dignity and humanity that everyone is entitled to.”
Listen to the full report below:
Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org