Callers needing emergency assistance in Williamson County are now being offered a new option. Through a partnership between Emergency Services, the Sheriff’s Office and Bluebonnet Trails Community Services (BTCS), a qualified mental health provider on the Emergency Communications floor is available to assist with 911 callers experiencing mental health emergencies. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year.
Adding mental health professionals to 911 was first approved by the Commissioners Court on March 30, 2021. Callers now are offered the assistance of police, firefighters, emergency medical responders or mental health professionals.
“This is yet another innovative tool we’re able to utilize in our efforts to attend to those needing mental health assistance,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey. “I’m grateful for the continued partnership with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services and the benefits that this initiative will provide.”
“At a time when our mental wellness is pressured by the pandemic, we applaud the foresight of our Commissioners, Sheriff Gleason and Chief Connealy adding immediate access to a mental health connection through 911,” adds Andrea Richardson, BTCS executive director. “Through this collaboration, mental health professionals may de-escalate a crisis over the phone or, when necessary, until help arrives.”
“Having mental health professionals on the 911 Communications floor now allows the appropriate resources to be determined and sent,” said Williamson County Sheriff Mike Gleason. “This allows us to better target specifically which first responders are needed and makes resources available for other calls.”
The mental health professional may also prepare the emergency professionals for what they can expect at the scene.
“Having mental health professionals on the communications floor will be a tremendous resource to the first responders in the field,” said Chris Connealy, senior director of emergency services for Williamson County.
After the initial call for emergency assistance, BTCS also will be following up with callers to connect them with mental health services.
This service is not a replacement for the crisis hotline. Anyone having a mental health crisis should still call Bluebonnet Trails directly at 1-800-841-1255.