A lawmaker’s proposal to make Utah the first state to train emergency medical technicians specifically for responding to mental health emergencies received early support in a state Senate committee Wednesday.
SB53 would allow EMTs and firefighters to be trained to respond to mental health calls. Then, agencies throughout the state could form teams made up of those trained EMTs, who would be dedicated specifically to mental health emergencies.
Bill sponsor Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said he believes Utah will be the first state to implement such a program.
“I believe that this will absolutely change the way that we provide service to those experiencing substance use or mental health issues,” Thatcher told members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.
Mental health EMT teams would not take on the role of therapists. Instead, they would triage people and help them find the resources they need, Thatcher said.