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Cohasset Police receive grant for post-pandemic mental health support
Wicked Local South/Mariner - 6/21/2021
Jun. 21—Throughout the pandemic, police departments around the state have had to deal with a litany of unusual circumstances.
Responsibilities have increased as COVID-19 added a whole new wrinkle to public safety.
Staffs have been short and separated with extra precautions in place.
Amidst all of this, the nature of calls has changed, with, as Cohasset Police Chief Quigley will tell you, a significant rise in mental health related issues.
"We consistently get a lot of calls from people in crisis," Quigley said. "We're dealing with it, and we've been referring a lot of people to South Shore Hospital for mental evaluations."
Some local departments estimate that these calls have increased by as much as 30-40% since the start of the pandemic.
With all of the other challenges the pandemic has presented, dealing with this increase in mental health calls has been no easy task.
Fortunately for the Cohasset Police Department, though, help is on the way.
Chief Quigley announced last week that the Department recently received a $5,000 grant to support post-pandemic mental health.
This grant was awarded to 15 communities in Norfolk County by District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.
"A significant portion of our calls for service involve individuals in crisis due to mental and behavioral health issues," Quigley said. "With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased social isolation, we have also seen a rise in these types of reports. This grant funding could not be more timely, and with it, we will be able to better serve our community and provide the proper care to those who need it."
The grant funding will allow the department to contract with a licensed social worker, who will provide assessment and referral services for people in or approaching crisis.
The social worker will also provide guidance to town departments, including police, fire, public health and elder affairs.
The remaining funding will go toward providing field training for officers, who are often the first ones in contact with people in crisis.
"We try to target our community reinvestment dollars where our towns identify the greatest need," District Attorney Morrissey said. "Coming out of the pandemic year, our partners in the schools and town departments have made it very clear that the deepest need is mental health support and services."
Past projects funded through District Attorney Morrissey include providing community service dogs, school safety grants, trainings for school personnel and prescription drug collection containers.
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