HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – New Horizons Behavioral Health announced on Friday that it is expanding its services offered in Harris County by partnering with Harris County first responders to introduce a new Co-Responder Program.

The Co-Responder Program will pair emergency service professionals with New Horizons mental health professionals when responding to incidents where individuals may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

New Horizons Behavioral Health says the program is set to start on Nov. 13.

According to New Horizons Behavioral Health, the Co-Responder Program is a “collaborative approach to mental health crises that seeks to reduce harm and facilitate alternatives to arrest.”

The program follows a model that New Horizons Behavioral Health says is “proven successful in counties across the nation, including New Horizons’ Co-Responder Program in Muscogee County which has served over 300 individuals in less than two years.”

To bring the new program to Harris County, News Horizons partnered with local emergency services including the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County EMS, the E-911 Center, Waverly Hall, Hamilton, Pine Mountain and Shiloh Police Departments. News Horizons also mentioned in a press release that Judge Thomas W. Lakes with the Harris County Probate Court is also an instrumental supporter of the program.

The Co-Responder Program works when a person in Harris County makes a 911 call about experiencing or witnessing someone else experiencing a mental health crisis, which will trigger the operator to dispatch an emergency responder accompanied by a trained mental health professional to assess the situation.

After looking into what happened, both the emergency responder and the mental health professionals will work together to create a recovery plan based on the individual’s behavioral health evaluation.

New Horizons also introduced Alesia Dunlap, a licensed professional counselor who has several years id experience as a clinical therapist, and joined the New Horizons Behavioral Health staff as the Harris County Co-Responder.

New Horizons says Dunlap will begin getting to know local first responders and the community prior to the program starting this month. For more information about the program or other services contact the Harris County Office at 706-595-5500.