RTD’s new mental health clinician looks forward to serving her community
Danielle Jones, a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner with the Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD), starts May 11 as RTD’s new contracted mental health clinician. RTD is one of the first transit agencies in the country to have a full-time clinician assisting staff. This joint effort provides support to riders who may not have access to, or knowledge of, available mental health services.
“I enjoy advocating for others and seeing people grow,” said Jones, who has worked in youth development, mental health and the non-profit sector for over nine years. “I love being able to give those who have not had a voice, a voice. Being able to help them understand their personal strengths, while helping them and educating them on their challenges. I love giving individuals hope and the outlet they are looking for through some of their toughest times.”
In her role at RTD, Jones will work regularly with a member of the RTD Transit Police Division to contact passengers in Denver who may need mental health support. She will evaluate riders to determine if they need immediate medical attention or connect them with a variety of services provided within the city, but the support doesn’t end there. Jones will follow up with these individuals to ensure they are continuing their appointments and getting the treatment they need.
A partnership between the Denver Police Department and MHCD has been in place for several years and is recognized nationally for its innovation and collaboration in assisting those suffering from mental illness and finding a different path for assistance other than incarceration. A pilot program was started at RTD in 2019 and was extended when the agency saw how successful the program was and the benefit it provided to passengers needing these services.
“Transportation has become huge, and Denver and RTD contribute to helping individuals get around,” said Jones, a Denver native who understands the challenges RTD and the city face as the metro area continues to grow. “Having the chance to build connections and help bring attention to mental health and how it relates to various areas of our everyday life is something I look forward to being around.”
When asked about what she looks forward to most about working with RTD, Jones said, “I have a passion for working with safety, security and law enforcement sectors, so to bring all of them together is something I cannot wait to experience and bring something different to the team.”