OPD Mental Health Officers, Truck Drivers Rescue Woman on Bridge

The team that helped protect a woman in crisis consisted of several people, including mental health professionals. Video footage showed truck drivers lined up under the Interstate 680 bridge as a woman hung out outside the guardrail. KETV NewsWatch 7 spoke with the reporter who convinced her to come down as she battles the mental health crisis on the front lines. Omaha police have a team of mental health workers who are called out in crises. They said they work with someone every day, although it’s not always as public as it was in this case.” Well, it must really hurt, right? Because we are human. And I’m just trying to be there with them, you know, trying to figure out what’s really going on,” said Kari Soto, a mental health associate with the Omaha Police Department. She took that call last Monday. “It’s really important to, you know, go to the scene, assess. Talk to the person. It’s OK because we’re not officers. The dynamic is very different,” said Soto. Soto is a licensed mental health therapist. She said she goes on several calls related to with mental health a day. “Crises look different. And just because they’re not, you know, on the edge of a building or something, their crisis is still important,” said Soto. Her role is to understand what’s going on in the lives of a person and provide them with resources to help. “I’ve always had an interest in therapy. And I think just like this piece of immediate crisis, it’s been honed,” Soto said. The woman on the bridge eventually went down the ladder onto one of the convenience stores parked under it.” When I thought about it on top of that, I feel proud. I think it was like a community effort. So it all comes back to just everybody acting fast and just being there for (them), people care,” Soto said. Part of Soto’s job is to follow up with people in crisis now and even weeks later. She said the number of calls for help is increasing amid the pandemic and stressed that starting this conversation about mental health is imperative. “We all have mental health and it’s important to just be there for each other, be kind to each other and just to know there’s really help out there,” Soto said. The woman was taken to the hospital after being rescued from the bridge. Soto said staff members often accompany them there to make sure they get the help they need . If you need help, call 988, the new suicide prevention hotline. And if you do call 911, ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention.

The team that helped protect a woman in crisis consisted of several people, including mental health professionals.

Video footage showed truck drivers lined up under the Interstate 680 bridge as a woman hung out outside the chain guard.

KETV NewsWatch 7 spoke with the reporter who convinced her to come down as she battles the mental health crisis on the front lines.

Omaha police have a team of mental health professionals who are called out in crises.

They said they work with someone every day, although it’s not always as public as it was in this case.

“Well, it must really hurt them, right? Because we are human. And I’m just trying to be there with them, you know, trying to figure out what’s really going on,” said Kari Soto, mental health associate responder with the Omaha Police Department.

She took the call last Monday.

“It’s really important to go to the scene, assess. You talk to the person. It’s good because we are not employees. The dynamic is very different,” Soto said.

Soto is a licensed mental health therapist.

She said she goes to several calls involving mental health a day.

“Crises look different. And just because they’re not, you know, on the edge of a building or something, their crisis is still important,” Soto said.

Her role is to understand what is going on in a person’s life and provide them with resources to help them.

“I’ve always had an interest in therapy. And I think just like this immediate crisis piece, it’s neat,” Soto said.

The woman on the bridge ended up going down the ladder onto one of the semis parked below her.

“When I think about it, I feel proud. I think it was like a community effort. So it all comes back to everybody acting fast and just being there for (them), people care,” Soto said.

Part of Soto’s job is to follow up with people in crisis now and even weeks later.

She said the number of calls for help is increasing amid the pandemic and stresses that starting this conversation about mental health is imperative.

“We all have mental health and it’s important to just be there for each other, be kind to each other and just know that there really is help,” Soto said.

The woman was taken to hospital after being rescued from the bridge.

Soto said associates often accompany them there to make sure they get the help they need.

If you need help, call 988, the new suicide prevention helpline.

And if you call 911, ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention.

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