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Police association pledges mental health first aid training

October 17, 2016
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) announced a plan Monday to improve law enforcement response to individuals with mental health disorders. Under the “One Mind Campaign,” IACP is calling on police agencies to train officers and staff on mental health first aid.

Additionally, law enforcement leadership will be encouraged to collaborate with community mental health providers and develop enhanced approaches for mental health crises. Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health—which facilitates nationwide mental health first aid training—presented information at the IACP conference in San Diego.

“There is so much interest in mental health and addiction, it’s a good time to educate people,” Rosenberg tells Behavioral Healthcare, speaking by phone from the event.

Police agencies in the United States now have a goal to train 100% of sworn officers and support staff in mental health first aid and to also train at least 20% of sworn staff in a crisis intervention team response model.

Rosenberg says the training will help safely de-escalate situations in order to protect both the citizen in crisis and the law enforcement officer. More than 700,000 Americans have participated in mental health first aid training, and the council hopes to increase that number to 1 million by 2017 with its “Be 1 in a Million” campaign launched earlier this year.