Sarah Henrickson prefers to know what to expect in her personal day-to-day life. Professionally, she welcomes the opposite. Regarding her favorite part of her job, she says, "No two days are alike. You walk in not having any idea what it is going to be."
In August, it will be twenty years from when Sarah Henrickson first joined Journey Mental Health, a community mental health clinic that provides mental health and substance use disorder services. For the past four years, she has served as a Law Enforcement Crisis Worker, a Journey Mental Health position that is embedded within the MPD Mental Health Unit.
Originally from Winona, Minnesota, Sarah double-majored in sociology and math. She completed graduate school at UW-Madison, with a master's degree in social work. In addition to the cases that Sarah manages in her role with the MPD, she also facilitates mental health training in the department, as well as for other local law enforcement agencies and community partners
Sarah enjoys spending her time with her husband, her two children, and her dog, Maddie. She stays active by seeing friends, exercising, and going on the occasional weekend getaway. A former "Big" in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, Sarah maintains a valued relationship with her "little," now grown up, whom she had originally met roughly twenty years ago. They had both recently spoken in front of over 800 people at the Big Brothers Big Sisters 2019 Gala.
Proud and gratified by her work, Sarah sees a unique side of society that is often misunderstood. The various nuances of her work, layered over the intricacies of policy and law, often result in what others may find to be daunting or overwhelming. "I get the opportunity to make order out of chaos," she says. Regarding each case or incident, Sarah adds, "I can't solve all the problems, but I have to figure out what is important right now."
We Are the 28: Mental Health Awareness Month
The Mental Health Officer Team is comprised of six Mental Health Officers, a Mental Health Sergeant, and two embedded Law Enforcement Crisis Workers from Journey Mental Health. The composition of the team is critical to the success of Police-Mental Health collaboration.
The work of a Mental Health Officer is both varied and demanding. The Department selects these officers through a competitive process based on their demonstrated qualifications. These include an understanding of various mental disorders and a proven ability to interact with people living with mental health concerns with sensitivity, patience, and compassion; an understanding of mental health system processes and statutes; and the ability to form strong working relationships with partner agencies.
In association with Mental Health Awareness Month, join us throughout May as we recognize and highlight some of the dedicated women of the Mental Health Officer Team.