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Alliance explores options for mentally ill patients

RAPID CITY (AP) -- A special task force is convening in Rapid City to address shortcomings in West River mental health services. Wednesday's meeting is the first for the West River Mental Health Alliance. It's a collaborative effort between Regio...

RAPID CITY (AP) - A special task force is convening in Rapid City to address shortcomings in West River mental health services.

Wednesday's meeting is the first for the West River Mental Health Alliance. It's a collaborative effort between Regional Health, the Pennington County Sheriff's Office and the Rapid City Police Department.

KOTA-TV reports a recent decision by Regional that it would no longer admit mentally ill patients to its regular hospital when its behavioral health facility was full touched off widespread concern.

The county's other options for mentally ill patients was to transport them to East River state facilities or taken them to jail. Pennington County Health and Human Services director Barry Tice says his staff heard from individuals who were afraid to ask for help for fear of being taken to jail.

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