School district invites mental health co-responders to assist school resource officers
While nearly every district has school resource officers, very few have mental health clinicians working with them. Thompson School District (TSD) has paired social workers with sheriff’s deputies to respond to mental health emergencies inside schools. We’ve seen similar co-responder programs have success outside of classrooms in cities across the state.
“I like to think of myself as a resource queen. Anything that you need, I can either find it, get you connected, make it low-cost and efficient for you,” said Maryann Ramos Flynn, a trained clinician who works with SummitStone Health Partners and contracts with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office for the co-responder program.
Brendan Solano is a school resource officer with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. Together, they’re part of the TSD Youth Crisis Response Team. It’s a co-responder program sending a deputy and a clinician to calls involving mental health inside schools.
The model has been successful outside of schools, with departments across the state launching co-responder programs. It comes with the realization that not all calls require a badge and a gun.
“It really takes a co-responder model to deal with mental health situations,” said Cook. “Having a clinician and a school resource officer teamed up together, it really brings the best of both worlds.”