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Police adds social worker as mental health calls rise

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota police department has hired a social worker to help de-escalate situations as mental health calls rise.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that social worker Megan Schueller has been helping Rochester police handle mental health issues through the department's pilot program that launched last year.

Schueller gives officers information at the scene or on the phone about solutions to mental health crisis that doesn't involve jail or a hospital.

During the program's four-month run, 70 percent of people who called authorities to report a mental health crisis were able to remain home with support from other services. Schueller's work has also helped reduce calls from people who routinely call the department for help.

The department made Schueller's position full-time after seeing her impact.

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