MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Koenemann - Director of Pitkin County Public Health - 970.429.6171
The Pitkin Area Co-Responder Team (PACT) is celebrating its official launch with a community-wide celebration with food, music, giveaways and a chance to meet and socialize with the PACT partners. The celebration will be held at the Aspen Fire Station, 420 E. Hopkins Ave. on Friday, June 28th from 4 to 6 pm.
The PACT program officially launched in early June. A mental health professional is now joining law enforcement when a call involves substance abuse or a mental health challenge. PACT remains involved with the case to ensure the individual continues to get the support that he or she needs.
“The kick-off party is intended to be fun and celebratory and also informative about this important program designed to better respond to mental health needs in our community,” said Pitkin County Public Health Director, Karen Koenemann. PACT is a great example of a wider community effort to get people the support they need and prevent unnecessary trips to jail,” Koenemann said.
More informaiton about the PACT program is available online: www.pitkincounty.com/PACT
The co-responder model of criminal justice diversion has been implemented in over a dozen counties and jurisdictions across the state, and essentially consists of two-person teams comprised of a law enforcement officer and a behavioral health specialist. Together, they intervene on mental health-related police calls to help de-escalate situations that may have historically resulted in an arrest. In Pitkin County, PACT’s full-time case manager will follow up after the co-response and help make transportation and doctor’s appointments, help make sure the individual gets necessary medications, help navigate legal issues, assist with access to economic assistance or other community services, coordinate access to counseling, group support or other treatment, and provide resources to loved ones to add another layer of support.
This short video describes the Pitkin County PACT program.
The kick-off event will include free food and live music in addition to information tables representing PACT partners and other community organizations providing mental health support and resources: Pitkin County Sheriff, Pitkin County Public Health, Aspen and Snowmass Police Departments and Mind Springs Health, Aspen Strong, Hope Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Pathfinders, Response, Aspen Valley Hospital, Mountain Family Health Center, A Way Out, Aspen Family Connections, and Pitkin County Jail, Adult and Family Services, Senior Services, and Economic Assistance.
Funding for Pitkin County’s PACT program comes from a 5-year grant of up to $362,500 per year from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, which was awarded to Pitkin County Public Health in 2018 by the Colorado State Office of Behavioral Health.