Dane County board to vote on 2018 budget, prioritize mental health training for dispatchers

Dane County board to vote on 2018 budget, prioritize mental health training for dispatchers

On Monday, the Dane County Board committee will vote to finalize their $538 million operating budget for 2018.

The budget dedicates $5,000 to inviting the National Alliance on Mental Health to hold two training sessions for all 911 dispatchers in the county.

The training would teach them what questions to ask and how to keep callers engaged until help arrives.

Dispatchers would also interact with people who have previously had a mental health crisis, to learn the best way to respond.

“They are the first line of emergency response. For them to have the information, tools, communication techniques that they need to work with an individual who is in crisis, and is able to ask probing questions, is able to relay that to the officers so they know what to expect when they arrive, is absolutely critical,” said Lindsay Wallace, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Dane County Executive Director.

An amendment to the budget also adds a diversity analysis into a study looking into developing a mental health restoration center in the county.

The board said the money would be used to look into who would benefit from the facility.

The budget also includes $3 million for affordable housing, $40,000 for case management for seniors and $100,000 to help with the odor coming from the landfill.

The full county board will vote on the budget at 7 p.m. at the city-county building.

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