Community Response Team Works To Help Those Struggling With Mental Health


Wednesday, June 16th 2021, 9:17 pm
By: Jordan Tidwell


TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa’s Community Response Team made up of a police officer, firefighter and a mental health professional. The team responds to situations like what happened Tuesday, when a man climbed on top of a highway sign for seven hours. 

Related Story: Officials ‘Relieved’ After Man Climbs Down After Nearly 7 Hours On I-244 Sign

Tulsa Police said its officers are well equipped to handle mental health situations, but when a mental health professional can be there, it can provide an extra level of care for those struggling. 

"When you can send the right one resource, such as this community response team to their location, you really help minimize the trauma they may be experiencing," said Amanda Bradley with Family and Children Services. 

Bradley said the mental health professionals on the team are licensed clinicians. She said they train extensively in how to talk to and work with someone struggling with their mental health. 

"When someone calls and is in crisis, we are really working on assessing, intervening and monitoring," she said. 

Tulsa Police said its officers get 60 mental health training hours during the rookie academy, and additional training each year. 

Sergeant Amber McCarty said they work on active listening training as well as basic negotiation training. She said they are also trained on how the situations may impact them as well. 

"Training officers on how to better regulate their own stress on scenes and combat breathing, and their stress levels and being able to communicate effectively," she said. 

McCarty said officers also are trained on how to make sure people know the community resources that are available to them, like the COPES crisis line.

Bradley said with a mental health professional on the community response team, they are able to make sure the person gets the help they may need for the long term. 

"Just because it was solved for that moment, doesn't mean that things are automatically better, so it's important to stay connected to those people who are suffering, and make sure the services you are providing are ongoing and what they need," Bradley said. 

If you or anyone you know needs to talk to someone, you can call the COPES 24-7 crisis line at 918-744-4800.