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West Jordan Journal

Highland Ridge Hospital connects with first responders to address mental health

Oct 01, 2022 07:37PM ● By Peri Kinder

By Peri Kinder | [email protected]

Creating conversations between first responders and mental health providers could change the way behavioral health crisis calls are handled. Midvale’s Highland Ridge Hospital (7309 S. 180 West) is an inpatient psychiatric hospital and mental health treatment center, trying to facilitate those conversations.

This summer, Highland Ridge hosted a barbecue to celebrate first responders in the community and show appreciation for what they do. The hospital’s team also used the opportunity to offer education, assistance and resources when dealing with people struggling with mental health, substance abuse or psychiatric issues.

“We thought it would be nice if we included all PD and first responders and let them know we’re grateful for them. We know there’s a lot going on with mental health,” said Kristina Larsen, Highland Ridge business development specialist. “They told us what they’re seeing out there and what a day in the life looks like, and things that would help them.”

During the event, the Highland Ridge team spoke with individuals who shared experiences they have had on the job, allowing the staff to gain a greater understanding of the challenges first responders face each day. Among the attendees were the West Jordan[LL1]  Fire Department, West Jordan EMS, and Salt Lake City Gold Cross EMS.

Highland Ridge offers free assessments to anyone who comes to the facility, whether they come in on their own or are brought in by first responders.

“It doesn’t matter if they have insurance or not, they get a level of care where we assess them and decide what they need, whether that’s inpatient or outpatient services,” Larsen said. “We understand the first responders are busy and we want to see what we can do to make them a little more successful.”

A Metro Mental Health Unit run by the Unified Police Department has ongoing training and conversations with officers about mental health resources and procedures. The concept is growing as other police departments in the Salt Lake Valley have come on board. Officers are specifically trained to handle mental health calls and follow-up with case management.

“They host a monthly roundtable and we’re able to talk about what’s currently going on, what resources are there, what free resources are there and what can we do,” Larsen said. “It’s a great way to get together and talk about what we can do to help each other.”

With the success of the barbecue, Highland Ridge Hospital plans to hold future events and will extend invitations to even more police departments and first responder teams. For information about Highland Ridge, visit

“It was a pleasure for Highland Ridge Hospital to host a barbecue for all of our first responders. We appreciate and acknowledge the vital work they do serving and protecting our communities,” said Highland Ridge Hospital CEO Jim Hess. “We are also grateful for the way they partner with us in serving individuals struggling with mental health challenges. We are proud to work side by side with all first responders and applaud the selfless service they provide each and every day.”