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Harris County Sheriff's Office tests new telepsych program for mental health crises in the field

from Houston Chronicle

The nice old man near Old Town Spring calls 911 every month or so to complain about people hiding in the attic of his home. There's nothing there, of course, except the inventions of his dementia and schizoaffective disorder. But he's now on a first-name basis with the sheriff's office Crisis Intervention Response Team. They don't arrest him, not even when they find 55 gallons of gasoline stashed in the attic to keep out the imaginary people.

Now the Harris County Sheriff's Office may have a better solution. A new telepsychiatry pilot program debuting Tuesday will arm deputies with tablets equipped to dial in to psychiatrists for urgent video chats, offering professional help out in the field to people who don't necessarily need to go to jail or an emergency room. more

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