Charitable equipment of the police with iPads for crisis intervention

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ACT, a not-for-profit based in Magnolia, works to provide mental health resources in South Arkansas and across the state.

MAGNOLIA, Ark. – Using telemedicine technology, a nonprofit in Arkansas is working to ensure police officers have everything they need when responding to a mental crisis.

A growing number of the state’s law enforcement officers are receiving crisis intervention training (CIT) to help respond to mental health calls. Even so, they cannot replace licensed psychologists.

“It would be perfect if every law enforcement agency had a personal mental health provider, but that’s not the reality,” said Marian Green, founder and chief executive officer of Aspiring for Community Transformations (ACT).

ACT, a not-for-profit based in Magnolia, works to provide mental health resources in South Arkansas and across the state.

The organization’s largest project at the moment is to get specially equipped iPads into the cars of police officers.

“You can grab this iPad, open it, and there is only one button you press,” said Green. “It goes straight to a licensed psychiatrist who can help with the situation and determine if hospitalization is necessary.”

To date, ACT has worked with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Magnolia and Barling law enforcement agencies.

“I call it CIT 2.0 and we can take it to another level and take that person to the next level of care,” said Barling Police Chief Darrell Spells.

Green got this idea from Oklahoma, where she says a similar program has been very successful.

“It really worked,” said Green. “It has saved the state of Oklahoma millions of dollars. And it has reduced hospital stays and provided access to mental health care, not just for citizens but law enforcement officers as well.”

ACT will also offer services to officials in its partner organizations when dealing with their own mental health problems.

“There is still a stigma on law enforcement officers going into mental health facilities and getting help so they can definitely do so in the privacy of their own home,” Green said.

ACT hopes to get iPads in every police car in the state.

“We’re excited to be doing this,” said Green. We chased it and it is ours and we will make it happen. “

The organization currently has tablets for law enforcement agencies who want to use their service.

ACT is also looking for independently licensed psychologists to jump on board. They can be anywhere in Arkansas and come with a tablet and training.

Those interested can visit ACT’s website, email the organization, or call 870.562.2935.


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