The Cobb PATH team: in the community, making a difference

Cobb County Police car

By Melissa O’Brien

The Cobb PATH team (Partnership for Assistance, Treatment & Health) is out in our community making a difference for those who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Cobb PATH, is a community partnership between Cobb Police, Cobb County Fire & Emergency Medical Services, and Cobb County Community Services Board (CCCSB) (now consolidated with Highland Rivers Behavioral Health).

As a trio, the Cobb PATH team helps individuals with mental disorders and/or substance use challenges to receive mental health treatment rather than be placed in the criminal justice system due to illness-related behaviors.

The team was called to a home after 911 received a call that an adult male was violently acting out. When the Cobb PATH team arrived, the father came outside and yelling could be heard inside.

The family was concerned about the individual being arrested.

“I was able to assess that this individual was having a mental health crisis and was able to issue a 1013,” says Matt Dames, the Cobb PATH Community Response Behavioral Health Clinician. “I called the Behavioral Health Crisis Center to confirm they had space available, and we brought this individual there to receive crisis mental health care.”

A 1013 is an order issued by authorized law enforcement or a mental health practitioner when an individual is unable to care for his or her physical health and safety so as to create an imminently life-endangering crisis and in need of involuntary treatment.

The outcome was far different than what might have occurred had the Cobb PATH team not been called.

“There were no charges filed for this individual,” says Cobb Police Officer Jacob King. “The family was concerned this individual would be in legal trouble, but he will not need to go through the legal system, when what was required and received was mental health care.”