The shooting on Jan. 8 here in Tucson was more than two years ago. It brought to the forefront the need for and lack of treatment for people who have mental illnesses.
Now Pima County has the Crisis Response Center. And now we get to see what happened in its first year.
The center is there to help in crisis situations for those with mental or behavioral health issues. From August 2011 to last September, more than 1,300 people were helped in person. And more than 135,000 calls came in the first year alone. The center gets about 10,000 calls a month and saves millions of dollars in the criminal justice system.
Administrators say it has even helped lessen the stigma of mental illness with law enforcement and hopefully, the general public.
We hear a lot of controversial proposals about gun control and the mentally ill. And it seems there's not much agreement on either side. But here is a program that was quickly - and quietly - put into place and seems to really make a difference. And that's something we can be proud of.