Police officers imparted special training to help them understand mental health calls better

Police officers imparted special training to help them understand mental health calls better

There has been an incredible surge in the number of mental health calls due to the efforts of the authorities to encourage people to seek help when experiencing suffering from any mental disorder. Due to the increased awareness that played a crucial role in demystifying the truth regarding psychiatric disorders, a threefold escalation was witnessed in the number of mental health calls over the last 18 years. In fact, officers logged more than 143,000 hours on these calls in 2017, said a report.

Since the time the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) started tracking mental health calls, it has received as many as 3,543 mental health calls. In the wake of such a large of number of calls, the LPD is imparting an advanced training to its veteran officers on the way to help people with mental illnesses.  The 40-hour-long Behavioral Health Threat Assessment Training aims at turning officers into resources by teaching them the effective ways of handling a mental health call. The primary objective of such a training is to ensure rehabilitation rather than incarceration of the people grappling with mental disorders.

Key objectives of BETA

The program focuses on changing the approach of the police toward mental health calls. Rather than treating them as a criminal investigation, the police officers should develop a helping attitude.  The training equips them to step back as per their understanding about the level of crisis. It includes training from a licensed medical practitioner. The trainer will not only explain the types of mental disorder but will also help the officers understand the drugs that are useful in providing some relief from a mental health condition. The program also includes a session with people who were or are suffering from a mental disorder to give the officers the firsthand account of such experiences.

Apart from the spike in the number of mental health calls, the training comes in the backdrop of the wrongful conviction of individuals suffering from a serious mental disorder. Hence, training will help the officers in identifying people with a mental health crisis and dealing with them in a different manner. In the absence of training, the lack of judgement can adversely affect the caller as the regular investigation techniques of the officers could trigger his or her symptoms.

Apart from training the officers about mental illnesses and drugs available for treating these conditions, the BETA program focuses on reducing the trauma of the patients by alleviating stigma and prejudices associated with mental disorders. They will also learn the way to collaborate with peer services like the local nonprofits to provide easily accessible services to those in need, such as on-call clinicians.

Recovery is possible

Mental illnesses are a serious condition that occur due to the chemical imbalances or injuries in the brain region. These disorders occur due to a variety of reasons, such as genetic predisposition, traumatic experiences, substance abuse, etc. They do not discriminate and can occur to anybody, irrespective of his or her age, gender or ethnicity. Hence, the occurrence of a mental disorder cannot be predetermined.

The presence of an underlying mental disorder can be recognized by observing the symptoms. Every mental disorder has a characteristic set of symptoms. However, a majority of these symptoms overlap with the warning signs of other medical conditions. Therefore, it is always advisable to undergo a clinical assessment conducted by a licensed medical practitioner to accurately determine the severity, type and duration of the condition. These factors are essential for identifying the most effective treatment for every patient.

As such, mental disorders can be treated using medication, therapies and a combination of both, depending on the diagnosis report. Along with the treatment, some lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating, regular exercise, practicing yoga and meditation, maintaining a timely sleeping pattern, can help in expediting the recovery process.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental disorder, contact the Anxiety Disorder Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-7951 or chat online to speak to our expert about the anxiety disorder treatment clinics near you.