Richardson County A.C.T.

Richardson County Assertive Community Treatment (A.C.T.) is a collaboration among various community partners to help persons with mental health and substance use conditions live as independent contributing members of our community.

Community Medical Center and Blue Valley Behavioral Health have sponsored the creation of the A.C.T. Advisory committee to develop an integrated community behavioral health strategy. The A.C.T. model is adapted from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). According to NAMI, the  Assertive Community Treatment Program (A.C.T.) aims to accomplish the following:

  • Provide locally based treatment to people with serious and persistent mental illnesses
  • Assist individuals who exhibit symptoms and impairments that produce distress and major disability in adult functioning (employment, self-care, and social and interpersonal relationships)
  • Assist those who are not helped by traditional outpatient models; those who have difficulty getting to appointments on their own; those who have had bad experiences in the traditional system; or those who have limited understanding of their need for help
  • Break the cycle of addiction, change the environment,  and overcome barriers to recovery

Richardson County A.C.T. program aims to provide community level, as well as individual level, strategies that address three major pillars: 1) Prevention, 2)Treatment, and 3) Recovery.

Information on local resources for intervention, care, and crisis can be found on the Community page under Community Resource Guide

Human Trafficking Awareness
The U.S. Department of Justice found Human Trafficking to be the second fastest growing criminal industry. The State of Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has recognized the public health crisis, and is petitioning hospitals and healthcare providers to become involved in the solution. Nebraska Hospital Association (NHA) is working with Nebraska Attorney General to develop a “toolkit” for rural hospitals to implement policies and response processes to the growing issue.

Wednesday July 10, 2019 Anne Boatright MSA, RN SANE-a, a Forensic Nursing Coordinator for Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, visited Falls City to shed light on the statewide trends in sex trafficking of minors in rural Nebraska. Twenty clinical providers attended the educational presentation at Community Medical Center.

Boatright highlighted how traffickers subtly “recruit” through fraud, force, or coercion to sell services to buyers. Selling or buying sexual acts, or pornography, for anything of value is considered sex trafficking and can be prosecuted. Minors recruited into this industry are targeted by traffickers due to various vulnerabilities such as addiction, poverty, welfare, prior trauma, or mental health conditions. Traffickers use specific tactics to attract minors such as love, fear, belonging, hope, or supply of drugs.

Boatright described ways in wich healthcare workers can identify possible sex trafficking victims. Some key indicators include carrying multiple phones, large amounts of cash, evidence of injury, and unusual tattoos. However, traffickers have become experts at hiding in plain sight. There is not a stereotypical trafficker or victim visible profile.

In a research study by Beazley Institute, 88% of victims had contact with a healthcare provider while being trafficked. Many presented to clinics and emergency rooms with health concerns, but trafficking victimization was not identified. Victims may present alone for well check, sexual assault, injuries from assault, STD/STI treatment, pregnancy care, mental health needs, and other conditions.

Boatright recommends that if a person is a possible victim of trafficking, healthcare workers can screen by engaging the victim in a safe area, apart from possible traffickers (friend, relative, significant other), discuss confidentiality, offer help without identifying as a victim, and use evidence based screening tools, such as the HEADSS mnemonic. Once a screening is conducted and the victim is willing to accept help, healthcare workers can tap into local resources for assistance. Project Response, Child Protective Services, Child Advocacy Center, and Forensic nurses can assist with managing cases involving sex trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

Local law inforcement should be contacted is trafficking or abuse are suspected. The National Trafficking Hotline can also be utilized through phone or text. HIPPA and Mandatory Reporting, must be followed, but non-HIPPA protected information (such as license plate numbers, can be reported to the tipline anonymously. The NHA toolkit is expected to be available to hospitals by September 2019. Boatright encourages hospitals to begin working now on policies for handling case of trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. If you suspect human trafficking, call 911, National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888, or the “HELP” to 233733.

Mini-BETA Training
In June 2019, Community Medical Center hosted a full day training in coordination Falls City Police Department and Richardson County Sherriff Department. The training, sponsored by Region V Systems, is designed to promote comprehensive behavioral health threat assessment skills for law enforcement. The training was expanded to include first-responders, paramedics, ambulance squad, emergency personnel, behavioral health professionals, and others who encounter persons experiencing a mental health crisis. Twenty five (25) attendees participated in the training. Topics incorporated signs and symptoms of a person experiencing a mental health crisis, assessing suicide risk, conducting a threat assessment of harm to self or others, threat management strategies, and emergency systems and resources. Presenters included Directors from Region V Systems and Blue Valley Behavioral Health. Keynote speaker, Joseph Wright is a former Police Captain and current Director of Security for Lincoln Public Schools. Wright highlighted tools and strategies to support those with mental health conditions. A guest speaker, Clarence Grendahl, gave an inspiring account of his personal addiction and path to recovery. The Mini-BETA (Behavioral Health Threat Assessment) training is a shortened version of a 5-day BETA course offered by Region V Systems. Asst. Chief Jamie Baker attended the BETA course and pursued bringing the Mini-BETA to Richardson County as part of the Richardson County A.C.T. efforts to support individuals and families struggling with mental health conditions.