Young County looking to get a mobile mental health unit

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 10:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2023 at 10:10 AM CDT
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Young County, Texas (KAUZ) - City officials from Graham and Olney have been in talks, with hopes of starting a mobile mental health unit to assist with mental health in the community and for intervention in mental health crises.

The Critical Access Rapid Response Evaluation Unit would cost $1.35 million to purchase and get ready to operate.

The CARRE Unit will provide free mental health services and will be dispatched when units receive a crises call to proactively help people in need.

“So the idea to have this unit is great,” City of Olney, Chief of Police Dan Birbeck said.

“It will have several mental health peace offering units that are out, but it won’t just be a police officer that is certified in mental health. It’ll also include a licensed clinical social worker and a medic and that way we can take care of all the patient’s needs in one visit” Birbeck said.

The unit was a topic for Young County officials has been a long topic of conversation but the death of people made Chief Birbeck personally want to get the ball rolling.

“After several locals had died and we went out and worked with the families, it was glaring,” City of Olney, Chief of Police Dan Birbeck said

Although there is no numerical data on mental health in Young County, city officials are positive that it will make a huge difference.

“It’s hard for people to access this benefit that taxpayers pay for even if the clinic is in their own town” City of Olney, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Mona Bernhardt said.

“While it’s a big problem everywhere there aren’t a lot of fixes and so it’s kind of exciting to be involved in this one. I think it really is the solution and could be applied to a lot of communities not only in Texas but across the nation” Bernhardt said.

The plan for the mobile unit will be to have it available for two years and see how well it helps.

There is no definite timetable for when the unit will be up and running, but leaders are optimistic that it can be ready by next summer or fall.