CHARLOTTE COUNTY- Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office launched their new mental health unit to help them lead individuals in crisis to services, Deputies encounter the need for mental health services on almost every shift.

“Domestic situations and then a lot of drug situations,” Heck said. “Whether it be an overdose that brings us to the person’s house, or an arrest for sales or possession.”

As part of the new mental health unit, a clinician with Charlotte Behavioral Health will work full time at the sheriff’s office to help people navigate through the mental health system.

“There are all these services out there,” Heck said. “But a lot of people, especially when they are in the crisis, aren’t able to decide what might be most appropriate for them, so she’s able to kind of look at their problem, understand where there coming from, and find them the services that are specifically going to benefit them.”

The clinician will review every report written by deputies to identify individuals in crisis.

“Because sometimes there’s things that with her history of mental health and the certifications she has,” Heck said. “She’ll see indicators that this person may need services that maybe sometimes even a deputy will miss.”

Deputies can also refer people to the clinician, to help keep people out of jail.

“It’s really just another way to get the help out there so they aren’t having to interact with law enforcement in a negative way,” Heck said. “Of either a baker act or sometimes arrest.”

If you’re in need of help you can call the sheriff’s department’s non-emergency line 941-639-2101.