Albany County expanding emergency mental health programs

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Albany County leaders recently announced their plans to expand mental health services across the county.

These expansions are supposed to help local law enforcement be more equipped in handling individuals experiencing mental health crisis.

With the right resources, they can keep those undergoing crisis out of jail and provide them with treatment instead, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

It’s an issue Dr. Alice Green, executive director for Center of Law and Justice, said is long overdue.

While police there are usually the first on the scene no matter the call, Green gave several examples where someone undergoing a mental health crisis was shot and killed by police because police were unaware of that individual’s diagnosis. She’s happy Albany County is expanding their services in the city to include more urban areas, she said.

Once launched, the Albany County Crisis Officials Responding and Diverting Program – ACCORD for short – will allow non-violent 911 calls to go directly to EMS and social workers. Green’s happy to see there’s renewed interest in a topic that could mean the difference between life and death.

Hear what she hopes it means for Albany going forward by watching the video of Taniqua Pennix’s story.