The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Coweta Cares concept shows wisdom, insight


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 20, 2018 - 7:06 PM

Coweta County Fire Rescue is taking a new approach to the treatment of behavioral health among Coweta residents by launching “Coweta Cares.” The Coweta Cares unit will be staffed by a paramedic from Coweta Fire Rescue and a licensed professional counselor from Pathways.

The concept recognizes that mental health calls received by the Coweta 911 Center need a different approach from those for medical issues.

Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Denney, Fire Chief Pat Wilson and Pathways CEO Jade Benefield recently shared the concept with the Coweta County Commissioners.

The goal of Coweta Cares is to “provide communication before crisis,” Denney said. A soft launch is underway, and the full launch will follow when the new Pathways behavioral health crisis centers open on Hospital Road.

At first, Coweta Cares will be manned weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Behavioral health issues are the reason for a significant number of calls to Coweta 911. In 2017, there were 641 calls for heart attacks, 531 calls for stroke  – and 1,603 calls for behavioral health.

Coweta Cares involves visits to homes where a mental health problem may be taking shape and then follow-up contact to make sure the situation is stabilized.

Coweta Cares once again shows the caliber of people who are public servants in our county. The Coweta Cares concept was created by local people to meet a local need – though the ramifications of Coweta Cares go much further.

We believe Coweta Cares will save lives and make the work of Coweta’s emergency response workers more efficient and effective. We also believe other counties are watching us and that this project will be replicated in other counties soon.

Longer hours – 24 hours, seven days – may be called for in the future, but this is a great start.

Chief Wilson said, “I truly believe Coweta County will be a trendsetter in how we respond to emergencies in our community.”

We concur wholeheartedly.