Sheriff’s Corner With Sheriff Tracy Murphree – May 2021

Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health issues have been on the rise for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have only made things more trying for so many people. There are many ways the pandemic has likely affected mental health, particularly with widespread social isolation resulting from necessary safety measures.

The Denton County Sheriff’s Office Mental Health Unit was created in 1989 with a Sergeant and four Mental Health Deputies. Today, the unit consist of a Lieutenant, Sergeant, seven Mental Health Investigators, and an Administrative Assistant. The Sheriff’s MHU uses its dual certifications as both Peace Officers and Certified Mental Health Peace Officers to obtain the most appropriate placement for individuals assessed by investigators for emergency commitments.

The MHU provides Denton County citizens with professional law enforcement mental health assessments and transportation. The MHU does emergency apprehension and detentions independently and in conjunction with Denton County Mental Health Mental Retardation (MHMR), the Local Mental Health Authority.

In 2020, our Mental Health Unit completed 517 emergency detentions compared to 2004, where 181 were detained. As Denton County’s population continues to increase and mental health issues increase, so does the number of emergency commitments.

The Denton County Sheriff’s Office MHU provides updated training to law enforcement agencies, institutions of higher education, and hospitals within the county that wish to have a better understanding of the laws and resources available to them through the mental health system in Denton County.

The goal of the Denton County Sheriff’s Office MHU is to continue training to maximize the impact of crisis funding and to minimize the use of hospitals for those mentally ill individuals who do not meet the standard for voluntary or involuntary inpatient hospitalization. The MHU will continue to guide those individuals to locally available resources that can better meet their needs.

940.349.1600 | 127 N. Woodrow Ln., STE. 300 • Denton, TX 76205 | dentoncounty.gov/707/Sheriff

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