Mental Health Resources in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The City of Williamsport is working to bring more mental health resources to its community.

The creation of these resources would not only help reduce the number of calls that the police respond to, but it would also ensure that people with mental illnesses receive the appropriate help.

This pandemic highlights the number of people struggling with mental health issues and the limited places to turn for help. Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter says they are working to help people actively through a crisis.

We applied for a $600,000 grant from the Department of Justice, DOJ. If we get this grant, it will allow us to put in place a critical mental health, behavioral health response team,” said Mayor Slaughter.

Even if the grant is not approved, they have a backup plan.

“If we don’t get the grant, we’re still considering using some of our bailout money to fund a team of this nature,” Slaughter said.

These new resources will limit police intervention when a person is suffering from an episode of mental health.

“They will be able to identify immediately when this is happening and will be able to refer either the people who are part of this program or the community member who needs it,” said the deputy chief of the Williamsport Police Bureau, Jason Bolt.

This program also aims to be proactive in getting mental health assistance to residents earlier.

“They will be able to implement the necessary programs sooner to hopefully keep these people out of the justice system, out of the justice system and into more of a mental health/therapeutic system,” Bolt said.

The city could be approved for this grant any day. If this materializes, they will have a year to develop a plan with the hope that it will be operational by the end of 2022.

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