There have been five suicides locally in the past six months, and… there are no words to describe the pain associated with that fact. Salina City Police Chief Al Taylor and other local law enforcement officers and volunteers want every person to know that there are resources available, and for anyone feeling like suicide is an option, please take one minute to call them; help is here, local, and there are so many in the community willing to help and offer additional resources.
“It is completely confidential, and gah, if I could just have five minutes with them,” said an emotional Taylor. “I was so darn happy to see that mural on NAPA going up and I really hope it is a reminder to everyone out there that you never know what someone is going through behind their smile. Any kind word, any positive interaction, could change a life.”
The Salina City Police Department has teamed up with Central Utah Counseling, the local mental health authority, and officers and support staff are specially trained as members of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to better serve the community. New Horizon’s Crisis Center has also been a big part of responding to the area and aiding local officers and their social workers have been a great asset to the community. Taylor said nearly everything involving public safety response has a mental health component and it’s important that we recognize that. No one usually calls for fire, EMS or police when they are having a good day. It’s often one of the worst times of their lives.
“In our area, there are many members of the Crisis Intervention Team, starting with some amazing Public Safety Dispatchers and law enforcement officers from City Police, Sheriff’s Deputies, Utah Highway Patrol and Utah Department of Corrections Officers,” he said. “With nearly 33 years of law enforcement experience, I look back and wish the CIT program was a requirement to graduate from the Police Academy. It would be so much more beneficial to have those skills at the onset of my career.”
Central Utah Counseling Center’s Mobile Outreach Crisis Team (MCOT) is available to Anyone, anywhere, anytime who is experiencing a mental health crisis. A team of therapists and peer support specialists/case managers is available to respond in real time/face to face to the actual location of the person in crisis to achieve the needed and best outcomes for that person and their family. Deployments are often requested by and accompanied by local law enforcement. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak to a crisis worker and ask for an MCOT referral 24/7/365.
Taylor said they also work with Sevier County Victim Advocate, Amy Sanders who is one of the most dedicated advocates he has ever worked with, and she said the same about him.
“Chief Taylor has been a great proponent of CIT and has offered for years to assist in providing the academy locally. He is also amazing in the time and efforts he dedicates to serving the mentally ill in his community. We appreciate him and our partnership so much,” she said.
CIT also works with the LDS and Baptist churches to help those in need of services.
“There are a ton of suicide prevention resources and many good people out there trying to remind others that they’re wanted, but some people don’t think it applies to them, but it does!” said Taylor. “There are resources available to help and it’s all confidential and no one should feel ashamed to ask for help.”