The impact of mental illness can have substantial influence on crime related activity. As such, it is common for deputies to interact with individuals suffering from various forms of mental health disorders. In a concerted effort to better serve those experiencing mental health crisis, while simultaneously protecting the public, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce a new partnership with Jackson County Mental Health.
Grant funding from the Oregon Health Authority will allow the Sheriff’s Office to staff a full time Mental Health Advocate. Matt Johnson, who already works as a crisis therapist for Jackson County Mental Health, will work with the Sheriff’s Office to improve the response and follow-up to cases that involve persons experiencing mental health crisis.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness documents that encounters between police and persons experiencing mental crisis are increasing. According to the Alliance, “2 million jail bookings each year involve persons with mental illness.” Furthermore, approximately 15% of men and 30% of women in local jails have a serious mental disorder. Finally, 1 in 4 people killed in officer-involved shootings were determined to have suffered from a serious mental illness.
By having a crisis therapist working with law enforcement, the person in crisis will have access to a menu of services including: on scene or by appointment crisis mental health assessment, assistance with hospital placement if deemed necessary, connecting the individual with ongoing services and support and cooperation with law enforcement that will offer diversion from both jail and the hospital.
We believe that this partnership will further enhance our ability to provide the best possible service to the citizens of Jackson County.
Thank you for your continued support.
Capt. Tim Snaith
Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness; Jackson County Mobile Crisis/Crisis Respite Services Application OHA-4120-15