In partnership with dedicated local stakeholders and valued partners, Janet convened a comprehensive community-wide assessment in 2021 which identified gaps and barriers to accessing mental health and substance use disorders in Mesa County. From that assessment, Mesa County took the lead on several projects including Grand Valley Connects, MAC Teams and Co-Response.
Grand Valley Connects- A Mental Health Navigation Hub
Through the community assessment process, residents and stakeholders identified one of our most critical needs: to assist individuals in understanding and navigating the mental health system better. This led to the creation of Grand Valley Connects through the Mesa County Health Department.
Grand Valley Connects is more than a referral agency. Their dedicated staff meet people where they are, guide them to the services they need and follow up to help them navigate any roadblocks they might encounter.
Multi Agency Collaboration (MAC) Teams:
The community assessment pinpointed another crucial area in need of attention: intensive case management for individuals frequently cycling through our jail and emergency rooms.
This prompted the establishment of our Multi Agency Collaboration (MAC) Teams. These teams play a vital role in providing crucial support to individuals grappling with mental health and substance abuse issues, often caught within the criminal justice system's web.
To kickstart this initiative, Mesa County secured funding through strategic contributions from St. Mary’s Hospital, the state and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. Recognizing that nearly half of the jail's inmates relied on mental health prescriptions, Sheriff Rowell realized the necessity for change from the status quo and championed this effort.
Comprised of professionals from various agencies, the MAC teams work tirelessly to break the cycle of incarceration and focus on rehabilitation and recovery. This collaborative effort has been nothing short of remarkable and has been instrumental in transforming the lives of those with serious mental health issues, by providing comprehensive support.
This tailored approach seamlessly merges empathy with responsibility. Whether it's aiding clients in securing employment and stable housing, facilitating access to treatment, ensuring consistent medication adherence, or ensuring access to food, this proactive strategy has yielded remarkable outcomes. The tangible results are evident in the substantial decrease in emergency room visits and a marked decline in the jail population among those benefiting from this program.
Hear testimonials from some of the clients and staff who have been impacted by this program in this video.
The impact of the MAC Teams underscored the critical need for swift, empathetic interventions during crises involving individuals in distress when law enforcement is summoned. Enter the co-response teams: a dynamic pairing of highly skilled therapists with Sheriff Deputies designed to address these urgent calls. Together, their collaborative approach has been instrumental in defusing tense situations, averting needless arrests, and ensuring individuals in crisis receive tailored, essential care.
This project was also championed by Sheriff Rowell, both through funding and a willingness to structure things in a way that allowed more flexibility. The therapists are staff of Mesa County Behavioral Health instead of the Sheriff’s office, allowing them to support the MAC teams among other community needs. Rowell also reorganized his organization to have one Captain over all areas that have any overlap with mental health, even if they’re in different Divisions.
Through the co-response program, Mesa County has revolutionized its approach to handling situations involving mental health concerns where they intersect with the criminal justice system.
Discover more about the groundbreaking Mesa County Co-Response initiative, reshaping how we approach mental health crises.
For more information about what Mesa County is doing to improve our mental health system or to join our Behavioral Health Steering Committee contact Janet at VoteJanetRowland@gmail.com