The grant helps the state launch a pilot program on mental health in rural areas

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services launched a new pilot program for virtual mental and behavioral health on Wednesday with 11 state law enforcement agencies through a $ 3.8 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

There are 3.1 million people in Nevada 110,567 square miles, which “adds a unique challenge” to the provision of coordinated behavioral health services in rural areas, the governor Steve Sisolak said. “Challenges include lack of access to suppliers, timely response to the crisis and barriers to transport to access services.”

The three years Virtual crisis care The program aims to help reduce the burden of law enforcement in rural and border counties in the state by connecting people with virtual telehealth experts.

Three million Nevadanes, or about 94.4 percent of the state’s population, live in a mental health shortage, but that percentage jumps to 100 percent in the state’s rural and border counties, according to Renova Nevada Rural Health and Border Health Data Book 2021 at the University of Nevada.

But about 20 percent of those living in rural and border counties have battled mental illness in the past year, according to the data book.

IN The Virtual Crisis Care program will work seamlessly with Nevada’s new 988 behavioral health care crisis system to help tackle rural access to mental health care, That’s what Walter Panzier, trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said.

Law enforcement officials in this area will be able to use the iPad to call Avel eCare, a telemedicine provider selected through an open offer in Nevada to help assess safety. Employees can then provide a tablet to the person in crisis for video calls and will coordinate with law enforcement authorities on follow-up care with local mental and behavioral health resources and divert them. from the criminal justice system.

“Officers have been asked to do things we were never trained to do, we were trained to do law enforcement,” the Lincoln County Sheriff said. Kerry Lee said. “In my 33 years, I have seen that the calls for mental health that we have been responding to are increasing more and more and we see more in our prisons and these people do not belong in our prisons.

The difference in broadband is large in rural Nevada, according to Community – wide broadband report for 2020 from the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology.

If there are connection problems in rural and border districts, the employees who use Virtual crisis care The program will have to de-escalate the situation and move the person to a better service area, Panzirer said.

On June 21, the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee approved the first installment of $ 1.3 million in grants for the program and will approve various amounts over the next three years, Panzirer said.

Officials in the 11 counties will begin training in July, which will include Avel eCare’s de-escalation training on crisis intervention training, which many law enforcement agencies receive, he said.

The pilot program will be based on South Dakota Program which launched a three-year program in 2019, which ends this year. The first year focused on training and dissemination, performance and device management, and the second and third years focused on improving the performance of local law enforcement agencies.

Participating legal agencies include Carson City, Eureka County, Humboldt County, Lander County, Lincoln County, Washaw County and White Pine County Sheriff ‘s Offices and the Elko Police Department, the Mesquite Police Department, the West Wendover Police Department, and the Winemuca Police Department.

Leave a Comment