MENTAL HEALTH

Social workers with Salt Lake Police Department are responding to more callers than ever

May 22, 2024, 8:00 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2024, 3:31 pm

Salt Lake Deputy Police Chief Josh Scharman conducts the grand opening of the Community Connections...

Salt Lake Deputy Police Chief Josh Scharman conducts the grand opening of the Community Connections Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Social workers are getting more mental-health related calls every year. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY-  The Community Connection Center social workers who work with the Salt Lake Police Department have more than doubled the number of responses mental health-related calls since 2020.

 In 2020, the CCC helped SLPD respond to 1,400 people. At the end of 2023, they helped nearly 4,000 people.

“We have gotten an uptick in mental health-related calls, or just crises in general. Our team also [is] growing, [and] we’ve been able to respond to a lot more of those,” said SLPD Social Work director Karen Montano. 

Montano said they’ve grown their team to meet the demand from a handful to 20 social workers on staff.

“We respond out with officers on any sort of crisis mental health call or calls that have sort of social needs” Montano said. 

The CCC team helps keep non-emergency callers from using 911 through their line, which Montano urges anyone who needs help to do so.

They also report to crime scenes and wherever officers need their expertise.

The team is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight.

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Social workers with Salt Lake Police Department are responding to more callers than ever