Myrtle Beach Police Initiative Shines a Light on Mental Health Services

MYRTLE BEACH SC (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Police Department is emphasizing Mental Health Awareness Monday in May to bring attention to the many services available.

The community initiative, which was launched last year to help improve mental health and wellbeing in the community, is a partnership between the Waccamaw Mental Health Center and the police department.

Health Alliance partner Sachi Baird, a mental health professional, assists officers when responding to crises or mental health situations.

“One of the ways we go above and beyond and use our due diligence is to go to the emergency room with that person and sit with them, trying to keep them calm,” Baird said.

Baird also helps train new hires on mental illnesses they might come into contact with on the job.

“I teach them to differentiate between someone who has severe symptoms of mental illness and someone who may potentially be under the influence of, say, a stimulant,” Baird said. “What these things need to be looking for so they can make a difference.”

Myrtle Beach Police Master Corporal. Tom Vest said the partnership was established because officers interact with people with mental illnesses all the time.

Having a mental health professional who can connect with people who need help is a big deal for the department, he said.

“It reduces the number of people who have to go to jail,” Vest said. “It gives people the treatment they need for long-term care.”

Baird is also available for anyone who is not in an emergency situation.

“You just want to talk with someone, just to get through a tough time or find out what resources the community has, not just for yourself but for a loved one, you’re more than welcome to give me a call , or you can walk into the police department and I’ll come out and talk to you,” Baird said.

Anyone with questions or concerns about mental health or who just needs to talk can call Baird at 843-918-1541.

Richard F. Gandhi