May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

May 17th, 2023

A valuable part of the Co-responder program is having a mental health professional, respond to calls with officers involving suicidal individuals. Typically, when faced with a suicidal person, to protect life, officers must resolve the call by placing the person on a mental health hold and have them transported to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Having a mental health expert available at the time of the call to assess more thoroughly on scene, attempt to safety plan with the individual until voluntary help/support can be obtained, and follow up directly with the individual in the hours and days following the initial call, can sometimes prevent a hospitalization.

While mental health holds are an important tool for officers to protect life, sometimes safety planning in place produces better outcomes for the individual in the long term. The Co-responder program makes that possible. Four times in the first quarter of the year, the Co-responder program responded with officers to calls involving a suicidal person. The Co-responder prevented hospitalization by providing assessment, safety planning, follow-up, and connection to services. In one case, the individual and their family member expressed gratitude for not being required to go to the hospital and increased hope for their future.

If you are struggling with your mental health, know that you are not alone. Colorado Crisis Services are available 24/7/365

Call 844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255

Golden PD utilizes a Co-Responder model to better address both emergency mental health crisis calls, such as suicidal individuals, as well as non-emergency mental and behavioral health related calls such as conducting welfare checks and connecting vulnerable populations (homeless, elderly, children and youth, mentally ill, substance abuse, etc.) to community services and resources. The co-responder model draws upon the combined expertise of police officers and mental health professionals to provide the right resources and assure the best possible outcome for the citizens of Golden experiencing crisis. 

Golden currently employs one co-responder who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  

  • If you need police assistance for an emergency mental health crisis, please call 911. You can ask for a co-responder or Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) response and if available, the co-responder will accompany officers on the call.  

  • If you are unsure if you need police assistance but are still experiencing a mental health crisis, please call Colorado Crisis Services (844-493-8255). This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   

  • In non-emergency/crisis situations, you may contact the co-responder directly. Please keep in mind the primary role of the co-responder in these contacts will be to help problem solve and get you or your loved one connected to services and resources in the community (counseling, substance use treatment, food resources, housing resources, support groups, etc.). 

Elizabeth Gallagher, LCSW

(303) 277-8767

Learn more about local mental health services.

Learn more about the Jefferson County Regional Crisis Intervention Team.