Colorado has had success deploying mental health professionals to calls alongside police officers. A school district in northern Colorado is hoping it will also be successful in the classroom. In order to respond to calls inside schools, Thompson School District considers itself to be the first in Colorado to team up a school resource officer (SRO) with a mental health clinician. Since the program’s launch less than six months ago, a clinician and SRO have worked together to respond to over 150 calls involving students who were in distress or required mental health services.
Maryann Ramos Flynn, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at SummitStone Health Partners, declared, “We’re not writing tickets. We’re not taking students to jail. We are getting them connected with services on the spot.”
The co-responder team has the power to put people in mental health holds and refer students to therapy. They can get students mental health help and even follow up outside of the classroom with home visits if necessary. School counselors don’t have the power to do that.