VICTORIA — In an unprecedented show of support for addressing mental health issues in rural Texas, Sheriffs from Goliad, Calhoun, DeWitt, Refugio, and Victoria came together yesterday to sign a proclamation of support for the Gulf Bend Community Collaborative Plan entitled, “Mental Health Law Enforcement Officers and Case Workers For the Gulf Bend Bend Region,” rounding out the seven county region as Sheriff Louderback of Jackson County and Sheriff Harmon of Lavaca signed the proclamation last week.

The proclamation of support states as follows:

As Sheriffs representing the counties of Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio, and Victoria, we hereby come together to make the following proclamation:

Sheriffs of the Coastal Bend recognize that the current model of handling mental health patients in crisis is not acceptable. The criminalization of mental health patients who are overwhelmingly arrested for minor, non-violent offenses are placed in a cycle that does not provide proper treatment for the cause of their behavior.

It is the belief of the Sheriffs of the Coastal Bend that there must be a better way to handle those suffering from mental health crisis. For this reason, Sheriffs of the Coastal Bend, along with Gulf Bend and other community partners, have come together to find an acceptable solution that will be of benefit to the citizens of our region.

As a result of our desire to find a solution to this growing problem, the Gulf Bend Community Collaborative was formed. From this Collaborative, we have provided what we view as a viable pilot project for the proper handling of mental health patients in our communities. The plan titled “Mental Health Law Enforcement Officers and Case Workers For the Gulf Bend Region” is the articulation of our attempt to create a solution that faces not only the Coastal Bend, but much of rural Texas.

We hereby support this plan titled “Mental Health Law Enforcement Officers and Case Workers For the Gulf Bend Region.” We encourage you to support this plan in order to support mental health needs throughout rural Texas.

“Today we find ourselves one step closer to the passage of the Gulf Bend Collaborative Plan. The support from our local Sheriffs speaks to how critical it is to pass this plan. We appreciate their dedication to the service of our communities and their desire to provide appropriate service options that will prevent the incarceration of non-violent persons suffering from mental health issues in rural Texas,” said Chief Deputy Roy Boyd of the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office.

For more information contact: Ward Wyatt, 361.550.6388 or Ward@W3StrategiesLLC.com