Regional Health finds allies in law enforcement in addressing mental health

Posted: Updated:

Leaders of Regional Health, the Pennington County Sheriff's Office and the Rapid City Police Department formed an alliance to help create immediate and long-term solutions for addressing the mental health needs of western South Dakota. The West River Mental Health Alliance was created after the three organizations disagreed with the placement of mental health patients. 

"The purpose of this alliance is to bring local, city, county, state, tribal, and private organizations together to explore the need to for additional mental health services to serve the residents of West River," the leaders said in a joint statement. "This is the beginning of an important dialogue to drive opportunities for collaboration with all stakeholders who are profoundly aware of the gaps and are serious about identifying solutions and necessary resources to begin addressing these gaps." 

Regional Health is no longer accepting patients with mental illnesses like Alzheimer's, autism and dementia, because those patients require one-on-one care or isolation for treatment. This decision was made Feb. 1, because Regional Health is unequipped to provide that treatment. READ MORE

The short-term solution at that time was sending those patients in need of one-on-one care or isolation to Pennington County Jail, a move that's drawn criticism. READ MORE 

The first meeting of the new alliance is planned for March 22. 

Today's Forecast