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Grant provides mental health services to Snyder County police, first responders
Daily Item - 12/4/2022
Dec. 2—Snyder County obtained a $125,000 grant to provide mental health services to police and other first responders and their families.
"It's been going very well thanks to our partners in the law enforcement and first responder communities," said Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch. "We've been focused on providing mental health trainings, increasing access to mental health services, and creation of a peer support program for law enforcement officers."
Shamokin Dam Police Chief Tim Bremigen in March notably tapped into the program to aid first responders and the public impacted by a violent multi-vehicle accident on the Strip that critically injured two people and heavily damaged Golden Chopsticks.
In 2021, the Snyder County DA's office was awarded one of 63 grants nationwide under a federal grant designed to advance mental health and wellness for law enforcement officers, first responders and their families. The grant was through the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, made possible by the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program.
According to the DOJ's website, the "funds are used to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement through the implementation of peer support, training, family resources, suicide prevention, and other promising practices for wellness programs."
"The program will fund projects that develop knowledge, increase awareness of effective mental health and wellness strategies, increase the skills and abilities of law enforcement, and increase the number of law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders using peer support, training, family resources, suicide prevention, and other promising practices for wellness programs," according to the DOJ.
Snyder County's grant has been used to provide trainings on mental health, suicide prevention and other wellness programs, as well as to increase access to mental health services, said Piecuch.
"While some municipalities already have employee assistance programs, this grant fills the gap for those who don't, and also provides specialized assistance to law enforcement and first responders," said Piecuch. "It has also been used to create a peer support program for law enforcement officers."
Snyder County will seek other grants like this, said Piecuch.
"We have an obligation to take care of those who take care of us, so we will be seeking a continuation of the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice," he said. "If that doesn't come through, then we'll look to other funding sources including governmental agencies and community foundations."
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