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Justice Department grant to expand mobile crisis team in Rockingham County

The mobile crisis team will expand to include full-time members next year. | Credit: WHSV
The mobile crisis team will expand to include full-time members next year. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 6:29 PM EST
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A mobile crisis team in Rockingham County is going to expand after a grant from the Justice Department.

Kelly Royston is the coordinator for the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Joint Mental Health Program. Since 2015, she said they've had a part-time team working in the county to help people in crisis. For a lot of the time, Royston said they've been following up with people who have been released from the hospital and jail to make sure their needs are covered.

Thanks to the $750,000 grant, they hope to hire a full time clinician to work with a patrolman from the sheriff's office. They'd also like to expand the help they offer.

"What we have found is a lot of people that by the time they go to the hospital or get released from jail and get into the CSB, there is a waiting time and people, do quote, fall through the cracks," Royston said.

She added the clinician and the officer would ride together and respond to the calls for mental health service. Royston hopes the pair can help alleviate the pressure on deputies.

"Last year, we had 901 mental health calls for service, so if we can help them, relieve some of that pressure that they have on an every day basis, then I think it's going to be a huge benefit to the community as well," Royston said.

Royston said they still have aspects of the plan to work out, but it will be up and running within six months.