Danville Commission introduced to new EMS social worker

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024


During the Danville City Commission meeting on May 13, the commission was introduced to Boyle County EMS’s new Community Behavioral Specialist, Mark Smith.

Smith’s role at Boyle County EMS will be offering assistance to those in the county suffering from mental health crises and helping EMTs be better trained when responding to someone who has a mental illness.

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“We are currently working on a few things; we have some crisis intervention training coming up,” Smith said. “Our primary goal is not to bring someone in crisis to the hospital or incarcerate them.  We want to meet them where they are and point them to the right resources. We have a small team but are making headway to our milestones.”

Smith worked as a social worker for Heritage Hospice for five years and served for eight years in the military.

Smith was hired as part of a response to many mental health cases seen in the county.

“I was looking into a lot of substance use disorder cases,” said Boyle County EMS Outreach Coordinator Terry Dunn. “As I got into a lot of those cases, we were seeing a lot of mental health cases. Some of them were intertwined with substance abuse, but we were seeing a lot standing on their own.”

Dunn hopes that, in time, the program can begin responding to calls directly that meet specific criteria.

“The plan is for dispatch to send us out to specific cases,” Dunn said. “We hope that we can help the Danville Police Department not have to respond to as many calls – calls that are not violent in nature. It would save our police officers and sheriff time and effort.”