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Branson Police Department selected to lead a session at statewide mental health conference

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 4:01 PM CST
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) -The Branson Police Department’s regional peer support team has been chosen to lead a session at a statewide mental health conference.

The eighth annual Missouri Crisis Intervention Team Conference is a partnership with Missouri Behavioral Health Council, Missouri CIT Council, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. The Branson Police Department says last year the Skaggs Foundation awarded the department a two-year, $20,000 grant to develop the support team.

”The peer support team is made up of a group of 30 trained professionals all first responders themselves from organizations in Stone and Taney County,” said Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews.

Chief Matthews says they are available by phone for any first responder that has an issue they need to talk about.

”They’ll meet up, they’ll go through those sessions, and if the peer support team member feels like there are issues deeper than they can handle we have contact with trained medical providers that can help us as well.”

Chief Matthews says mental health is critically important and it’s not always easy to talk about. These sessions aim to help those who serve feel comfortable to reach out if they are struggling.

”It is a first responder on the other end somebody who’s been there and done that and has probably experienced some of the same issues that the first responder is going through to be able to listen and talk through those situations,” Chief Matthews said.

He says the support team extends its reach to families of first responders as well.

The team of 30 will soon go through a second training course to provide them with more information to be to help.

”We’re looking for sustainable funding so that we can continue this beyond the two-year grant award,” said Chief Matthews.

The conference will be held in Columbia in March.

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