LEXINGTON, Ky. — Questions and concerns are being raised around more social service presence after a Nicholasville Police Department-involved incident unfortunately led to the death of a suicidal person.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky State Police are investigating after Nicholasville police shot and killed an armed man they say was suicidal

  • The fatal encounter highlighted concerns in the community and the need for more mobile crisis teams

  • Mobile crisis teams in central Kentucky are supporting emergency situations alongside law enforcement

  • The new Suicide Prevention hotline allows them to be more accessible than before

New Vista has served Kentucky for over 50 years and is one of the state’s key programs in helping make mobile crisis efforts possible.

The mental health facility works to manage and prevent factors that involve behavioral health, substance use treatment, developmental and crisis situations.

New Vista serves resident of central Kentucky and beyond since 1966. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

New Vista regional director of emergency response and client engagement, Darcy Miller says the center wants to be a safety net for the public to continue to unite law enforcement efforts to that of social services. She says working with police to assess situations can help with outcomes.

“We go out in pairs we can go to the scene and we can talk to people via phone or we can provide telehealth and we have up to three hours to respond but I will tell you, most of the time we were able to respond in an hour or less, other than if there’s an extra travel involved or we are being called in a couple different directions,” Miller said.

The center and law enforcement also prioritize the safety of their trained professionals.

“If there are safety issues, meaning that there are firearms on the premises and they’re worried about keeping us safe as a team, then they are not going to call us until they can secure the scene.” Miller said. 

The mental health initiative is hoping to reach as many Kentuckians in need. The faculty helps individuals in emergency situations regardless of factors like health insurance status, payment and more.

This summer, the new nation-wide suicide-prevention-hotline number, 988, was introduced. Miller says the new digits easily connect individuals and their loved ones at risk of suicide, mental and or addiction crisis to trained professionals who will help.

“So think about it, 911 is kind of similar. When you’re in a crisis, a three-digit number is much easier to understand when you’re experiencing a physical health crisis. It’s the same thing for mental health crises, when you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious.” Miller said.

At the beginning of this year, the mental health providers were officially recognized as a certified community behavioral health clinic. This allows the facility to handle primary care for both physical and mental health services that include physicals, assessments and more.

Kentucky has nearly 14 mental health centers that feature a mobile response and or quick response team. The units cover situations ranging from behaviors like drug overuse and thoughts of suicide and or depression.