Deputies partnering with Strive to offer crisis mental health help

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department is partnering with Strive to provide services to those in the community suffering through a mental health crisis.

According to the department, Stride is equipping first responders with iPads that will be used to immediately connect a person in crisis with mental health professionals. The iPads will be used for Zoom calls with the mental health professional and will de-escalate a situation as well as providing access to follow-up services.

Sgt. Andrew Whipker, co-coordinator for the Bartholomew County Crisis Intervention Team, said the goal is to reduce the number of mental health related calls the Sheriff’s Office responds to by connecting those in crisis with the resources they need. Whipker said the hope is that by giving the person access to those resources, the department will reduce the number of 911 calls and the amount of manpower spent responding to mental health calls and hospitalizations.

According to the department, first responders such as law enforcement are often the first called in when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, especially if the person is a danger to themself or others.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Stride Center on Second Street which opened in April as a 24/7 crisis center and Stride Mobile.

Melissa Helms, Director of Crisis Services with Stride, said the sheriff’s department has “been fantastic partners and are so committed to ensuring that individuals in crisis have access to mental health and substance services.”

Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.