A Connection During Crisis

Kelli Volk, Keloland Media Group
Publication Date: Sep 09, 2020

A Connection During Crisis

September 7, 2020The Virtual Crisis Care Program, currently at work in South Dakota, is getting people the right level of mental health care sooner by using an electronic tablet. The tablet allows someone in crisis to talk with a mental health professional at Avera eCare. Clay County Chief Deputy Paul Pederson keeps the tablet within arms reach in his patrol vehicle.

“If the person was in crisis right here in this intersection; they were suicidal here thinking of jumping into that intersection, I could have them sit in my car and, ‘Hey, let’s talk to this counselor.’ We can do it right here,” Pederson said.

The program will assist court services officers in addition to law enforcement and will serve 23 South Dakota counties by the end of September 2020. Other partners in the program include the South Dakota Unified Justice System, the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, and community mental health centers.


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