"I think we're seeing more of it than we've ever seen before," Rabun County Sheriff Frank Andrews said.
"It's really a tragic situation.
From patrol car to hospital A man threatens to kill himself at a Clayton motel.
Just down the highway, a woman reports the same missing item for the sixth time this week.
Both involve mental health issues and prompt responses from local law enforcement.
deputies respond in one of two ways to mental health care calls.
said sometimes making that decision is difficult.
"You're asking an officer to make a judgement call here," he
said Rabun County
Jail houses few inmates with mental health issues, adding the numbers fluctuate from year to year.
"Putting them in jail is not the answer.
Trying to get them help is," Andrews
"Detention is just not going to work.
said there has been a continued push by the Georgia Sheriff's Association
and other law enforcement organizations for mental health care reform.
Losing money and time According to local law enforcement, the impact of Rabun's mental health care situation on police is huge financially and organizationally.
said the sheriff's department picks up the tab when it comes to transporting mental health patients.
said when a patient needs to be taken to an outside institution, it's up to deputies to transport them there.
"It has created some issues because there's nowhere close," he
"Hall County's your closest place and that's just been recently.
The state didn't make the contract with that facility until just a couple of years ago.
Before, they were sending us to Rome and Savannah.
When patients are taken to MLMC
and then transferred to another facility, an officer is required to stay with them.
said it can sometimes take up to eight hours for a bed to be found at one of the mental facilities.
As for the financial impact, Andrews
estimated the sheriff's office pays out around $30,000 a year for transporting patients and responding to mental health related calls.
team receives training on mental health situations and it's a hot topic among law enforcement nationwide.
stressed that dealing with mental health is just another job description to add to local police.
"We're not mental health experts, but we want to serve and we want to protect people," he