MYRTLE BEACH SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Police Department launched Mental Health Awareness on Monday in May to draw attention to the many services available.
The community initiative, launched last year to help improve mental health and well -being in the community, is a partnership between the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health and the police department.
Health alliance partner Sachi Baird, a mental health professional, assists officers when they respond to mental health crises or situations.
“One of the ways we go high and forward and use our due diligence is that I go to the emergency room with that person and sit with them, trying to stay calm,” Baird said.
Baird also helps train new recruits on mental illnesses that they can contact while on the job.
“I taught them how to tell the difference between someone who is experiencing severe symptoms of mental illness versus someone who is likely to be under the influence of say, like, a stimulant,” he said. Baird. “What are those things to look for so they can tell the difference.”
Myrtle Beach Police Master Cpl. Tom Vest said the partnership was established because officers interact with people suffering from mental illnesses all the time.
Having a mental health professional who can connect with individuals who need help is a big deal for the department, he said.
“It reduces the number of people who have to be incarcerated,” Vest said. “It gets people the treatment they need for long-term care.”
Baird is also available to anyone not in an emergency crisis.
“You feel like, you want to talk to someone, just to solve a difficulty or find out what resources are available in the community, not just for yourself but for a loved one, you are more welcome to give. I’m a Caller, or you can go to the police department and I’ll come out and talk to you, ”Baird said.
Anyone with questions or concerns about mental health or simply needs to speak can call Baird at 843 918-1541.