Community Resource Unit to provide help to people with mental health needs

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- “It’s such an honor and I don’t think there’s a better word to describe it,” said Investigator Whitney Hughes.

Hughes has been a part of the La Crosse Police Department’s Community Resource Unit since it started at the beginning of July.

Just a month in, she’s been promoted to be the unit’s first investigator and says she’s ready to take the next steps needed to help the community.

“Everybody can have a crisis you know you’re in a car accident and you’re just past that point where you can handle it okay and that’s when we can step in say it’s okay we can work through this. Here are some resources we can get you connected with,” Hughes said.

She believes it takes an entire community to help with some mental health issues.

Hughes wants to connect anyone struggling with all available resources.

“First and foremost, wrap-around resources for community members because we find that not only just responding to the incident but having preparation and also an end game can really benefit community members,” she said.

Experts at Gundersen Health System say that about 1 in 5 people suffer from some kind of mental health issue,  and the more people who are educated about mental health, the better.

“Anytime we’re giving specialized training to some individuals in mental health and how to recognize symptoms and how to help people who are struggling I think we benefit,” said Josh Court, administrative director of Family Behavior at Gundersen,

Officers in the Community Resource Unit believe they’ve already taken huge strides toward helping the community.

‘We have already seen the impact that we’ve had in being able to provide people with more resources. And that not only helps them but family members and other support systems,” Hughes said.

Investigator Hughes says anyone can be in a crisis at any time.

By educating the community, more people will be able to understand and know how to help.