Martinsville-Henry County E911 Center creates database for citizens with mental health challenges

Responding to Mental Health Emergencies
Responding to Mental Health Emergencies
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:54 AM EDT
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COLLINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - As a part of the Marcus David Peters Act that was put in place by Governor Ralph Northam to provide care to people in mental health crises, the Martinsville-Henry County E911 Communications Center has built a voluntary database.

“We have established a way for our citizens to go online on the city of Martinsville or Henry County website. A secure link there where they can provide confidential information,” said JR Powell, center director.

Powell says the database will give dispatchers and responders a head start in gathering information.

“Dispatchers will have that information ahead of time rather than in today’s environment if you call 911, you don’t know what’s going on,” said Powell.

Having that information gives law enforcement another tool to help their response be better for themselves and citizens.

“If we don’t know that ahead of time and the officer comes and their normal response they are supposed to do, not knowing this person has an illness, we have all seen the nationwide incidents that have taken place,” said Powell.

Filling the database is step two of Northam’s implementation plan of the act.

“Our local law enforcement, as well as 911 centers across Virginia, will be meeting with folks from behavioral health services side and social services and establishing better responses to mental health crises,” said Powell.

The information collected in the database is confidential and will only be seen during emergency calls.

Residents can register on the Martinsville or Henry County websites.

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