The City of Irving approved an official Public Safety Wellness Unit specifically designed for the Irving Fire and Police departments. The new unit will provide support for officers and first responders dealing with a variety of mental health issues. Organizers hope the unit will help remove the stigma associated with addressing and seeking mental health support.

When Dr. Mildred Betancourt approached the Irving City Council about establishing an official Public Safety Wellness Unit specifically designed for the Fire and Police departments, her mission was clear.

“[When] I call 911, I am expecting someone to get there right away because I’m in trouble, or I’m in danger or someone that I know of is in danger,” said Betancourt. “I don’t see why our first responders, when they call for help, they get the run around with ‘Well, we can see you in three weeks,’ or ‘Well, I’m not taking any new clients right now. Let me see if we can get someone to see you.’”

The City of Irving approved the new Wellness Unit program — a joint effort of the Fire and Police departments — in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget. Betancourt, who formerly served as the Clinical Director for the Family Advocacy Center, will oversee the program along with two other clinicians, and will serve as the Public Safety Wellness Unit’s Senior Manager. The additional team support will ensure that a clinician is always available for each department.

Read the full story at Irving Weekly.

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