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Akron launches initiative to improve response to mental health crisis calls

The SCOUT vehicle sits inside Akron Fire Station 4.
Abigail Bottar
Ideastream Public Media
Akron will have a new method to respond to mental health calls announced on March 5, 2024.

In recent years, law enforcement agencies have been reforming the way they handle calls involving someone experiencing a mental health crisis, moving to what's called a co-responder model.

Instead of just police responding to those calls, they are paired with a behavioral health specialist or other expert trained to handle these calls, with the hope to improve safety and decrease use of force instances.

Thousands of cities have adopted the co-response model across the country, including locally in Cleveland and Shaker Heights, and now Akron has started its own pilot program.

We'll start Tuesday's Sound of Ideas by talking about the Summit County Outreach Team or SCOUT – which consists of paramedics, police officers and behavioral health specialists who have all been trained in crisis intervention.

Later, author Sarah Gristwood compiled her new book by doing something unique. Looking through other people's diaries.

The book is called "Secret Voices - A Year of Women's Diaries" --- and it's a fascinating way to learn about what issues women have been concerned about over the past several centuries.

And as much as society has changed in the nearly 400 years of diaries that the book pulls from, it's amazing that a lot of the concerns remain the same.

A balance between work and family, demands from overbearing husbands, and worry about how to properly raise a family -- all play central roles in the entries.

As we near the end of Women's History Month, we'll discuss Gristwood's new publication.

To end the show, Ideastream Public Media's Stephen Langel spoke with Cleveland Heights native, Peter Bendix, during spring training about his journey from Northeast Ohio to the baseball fields of Florida.

- Abigail Bottar, Akron/Canton Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
- Sarah Gristwood, Author
- Stephen Langel, Health Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
- Peter Bendix, President of Baseball Operations, Miami Marlins

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Jay Shah is an associate producer for the “Sound of Ideas.”
Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”