In early 2017, the Athens-Clarke County Justice and Mental health Collaborative submitted a joint grant proposal that suggested solutions to help individuals with mental health issues.

The grant will help fund two key aspects of the grant which will assist with how local police respond to people struggling with mental illness. The first aspect is a Co-Responder Program and the second is to provide Mental Health First Aid training (MHFA).

The Co-Responder Program will incorporate a fully licensed clinician from Advantage Behavioral Health Systems who will work within the Athens-Clarke County PD and will be responsible for responding to calls when mental illness is identified as a potential factor.

MHFA is an international evidence-based program that was specifically created to provide knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness and addictions. This training will support the ACCPD sworn officers, criminal justice professionals and other first responders by teaching them how to identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for those with mental illness.

Some key partners in this initiative include the ACC PD, Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, University o Georgia J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and Clarke County Sheriff's Office.

This announcement coincidentally comes on World Mental Health Day.