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Mental Health Co-Responder Team Focuses On Collaboration And Intervention

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

When Luke Meier goes on a call with his law enforcement partner, they don’t know exactly

what they will encounter until they arrive on the scene.

Luke Meier, Bert Nash Center licensed clinical professional counselor

But chances are there it could involve someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis.


“These are often crisis situations,” said Meier, a licensed clinical professional counselor, who is the Bert Nash Center representative on the Mental Health Co-Responder Team. The team, established in 2017, is a partnership between the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and the Lawrence Police Department.


“We see a lot of addiction and homelessness as well as severe mental illness,” Meier said.

But the co-responder team responds to more than crisis situations. They try to connect people to behavioral health services. They build collaborative relationships with other agencies and organizations in the community that provide services. They do check-ins. They work with people to help them make positive choices. They help defuse situations before they escalate to the point of someone being arrested — unless a law was broken — or going to the emergency department.


When the Treatment and Recovery Center opens, that will provide an alternative where people experiencing a mental health crisis can go and receive immediate access to care and be connected to resources that will put them on the journey to recovery.

“That will make for a more efficient process,” Meier said.


Meier is paired with Officer Robert Egidy of the Lawrence Police Department, who joined the co-responder team in July 2020.


“Robert and I are a team; we’re partners. We ride in the car together and go to calls together,” Meier said. “But he is still a police officer and has to do his job. If someone breaks the law, the police have to charge them. But if we can intervene before that happens, that’s what we want to do. It’s very collaborative.”

Meier previously worked for a veterans’ treatment facility in Lincoln, Neb. He and his wife, Rachel, relocated to Lawrence last summer. Rachel also works for the Bert Nash Center. They both joined the Bert Nash Center team in September. Rachel is the program manager for the Assertive Community Treatment team, which is part of the Center’s Supportive Housing team.

After Luke and Officer Egidy respond to a dispatch call and arrive at the scene, Luke will immediately identify himself as a mental health professional.

“I make sure the person knows I am not with law enforcement. What I do is crisis intervention and serve as a liaison between mental health and the Lawrence Police Department,” Luke said. “The co-responder team is a great way to intervene in the moment when it is happening, before it escalates.”


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