LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A Gwinnett County man is getting a second chance at life thanks to a behavioral health unit (BHU) that helped talk him off a bridge.
On Tuesday a 911 call reported a man threatening to jump off the bridge from Jimmy Carter Blvd. onto I-85.
A Gwinnett County behavioral health unit responded within minutes.
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A police officer and a clinician response team let him know they weren’t there to arrest him, they were there to help.
With a helping hand on his back, the clinician and officer found ways to connect with him at around 3:30 p.m.
In less than an hour, the man walked off the bridge and into the arms of the woman who helped save his life.
“It’s the connection, more important than any education or background, it’s connecting with people,” Pejmahn Mahdavi with Viewpoint Health told Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson.
Mahdavi oversees the BHU’s six teams and five clinicians.
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They have responded with police to people making threats on roofs and they were there when a man barricaded himself on a bus last year.
In most cases, he said they’re able to resolve a mental health crisis without an arrest and with a plan for long-term services.
“We can check with them, guide them, to make sure that the problem is addressed at its root and not just a band-aid,” Mahdavi said.
The BHU is hoping to keep expanding and adding people to the team.
They’ve responded to 3,000 calls since last August and less than 2% have ended with an arrest.
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