OREM, Utah (ABC4) – For people who struggle with their mental health, the Orem Police Department has created a special team specifically meant to meet their needs. For some, what that team does influences whether they live or die. ABC4 News shows the difference they make, in this edition of Behind the Badge.
Seeing the smile and laughter on the face of Annie Clukey of Utah County is a living example of what the Orem Police Mental Health Response Team is trying to do.
“There have been times that they literally saved my life. I was literally on the edge,” said Annie Clukey, who struggles with her mental health.
You wouldn’t know it today, but Clukey struggles with her mental health and has a history of hurting herself and attempting suicide.
“It got very concerning for them because the cops were called like every day and so they were very worried about me,” said Clukey.
In Orem, when officers respond to mental health calls like Clukey’s, her case gets forwarded to Mental Health Detective Anneliese Langs and Mental Health Advocate Kamryn Wilson.
“They’ll get sent directly to me and we determine what follow-up gets done with them,” said Det. Anneliese Langs, Orem Police Department.
“My goal is to make sure they feel calm, they feel safe, and we can get them to a safe place,” said Kamryn Wilson, Orem Mental Health Advocate.
With Clukey, they began checking in on her and helped connect her to resources she could turn to in a crisis. For the last seven weeks, she hasn’t hurt herself.
“I can finally say that I’m glad I’m alive,” Clukey said.
Det. Langs wishes more cases could turn out like Clukey’s.
“Sometimes we’ll help people, and it just doesn’t go anywhere and so it can be frustrating at times, but I have to recognize that’s just where they’re at and maybe one day they’ll choose to get help,” said Langs.
For Wilson, that struggle helps her appreciate when people turn their lives around.
“That’s what makes it so rewarding for me, I get to see both sides of the spectrum,” said Wilson.
They say helping those with mental health concerns can be unpredictable, and in some cases even dangerous, but when you see how people like Clukey feel today, both women enjoy the difference they can make.
“You guys have literally done so much for me like hours have been dedicated to my life,” said Clukey.
The detective for Orem’s Mental Health Response Team said for many people struggling with mental health it can be overwhelming to know where to start. If you want to connect with the team to find out about the resources there for you, just click on this link to the Orem Mental Health Response Team.