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'We meet people where they are': Omaha mental health experts share their role in crisis intervention

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 20:20:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV)  — Within the Omaha Police Department alone, there are four mental health co-responders.

Elisa Limoges is one of them.

Limoges is one of four co-responders with the Omaha Police Department and assists police who respond to calls with a mental health component. She describes it as someone in crisis, has a mental health diagnosis or possibly is under the influence of substances.

"We go on scene to help with crisis de-escalation and immediate resources try to divert from hospitalization or jail," Limoges said.

Lutheran Family Services also has Mobile Crisis Response Teams which can also respond with law enforcement. They're provisionally licensed therapists, social workers, and psychiatrists.

Brad Negrete, Sr. Director of Urgent Crisis Response Services at Lutheran Family Services said they also respond to homeless shelters, the Nebraska Family Helpline and other community agencies.

"We meet people where they are,” Negrete said. “It doesn't matter if it's at a Burger King, the store or if they're at a shelter."

Calls involving mental health services have increased in recent years. Limoges said OPD responded to just under 1,600 calls so far this year.

Lutheran Family Services sees about 50 a month.

Those in the field said the ability to work together while helping those in need is fulfilling.

“It's very rewarding,” Limoges said. “It's a great opportunity to bridge the gap between community law enforcement and mental health therapists that are working with law enforcement.”

The four responders with OPD cover each precinct in the department. Lutheran family services cover Douglas, Dodge and Washington counties.

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