Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2012
 
CONTACT
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or marla.augustine@nebraska.gov
Bill Muldoon, Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, Grand Island, (308) 385-6030 ext 303
 
Sound bites on this topic can be found at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/audio
 
New Training Video Available for Rural Law Enforcement on How to Respond to a Person Having a Mental Health Crisis
 
Lincoln—A new training video is available for rural law enforcement in Nebraska on how to respond to a person having a mental health crisis.  The training was written and produced by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center.
 
“This training will help rural law enforcement officers recognize and defuse a crisis related to a mental health disorder,” said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “It will help them learn skills to intervene in crisis situations they may face.”
 
Mental health issues comprise approximately 3 to 7 percent of law enforcement calls.
 
The content of the training was developed by law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and individuals who have experienced a psychiatric crisis.
 
Three chapters of the training demonstrate three typical mental health conditions—psychosis, depression and mania.  Actors provide life-like scenarios in which crisis intervention is demonstrated. 
 
Officers from the Norfolk Police Department—Brent Tietz and Jason Witzel—participated in the filming.  Arnold Remington, a mental health professional from the Targeted Adult Service Coordination (TASC) Program in Behavioral Health Region 5, and Gregg Ahlers, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, also participated.
 
“Officers can learn how to recognize mental health symptoms,” said William Muldoon, director of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center. “They can build upon their skills in responding to a crisis or disturbance involving a person with mental illness. Many times a situation can be defused by using effective crisis intervention techniques, so that arrest or emergency protective custody can be avoided.”
 
If an officer can get information from the person about people who can help, a family member, friend or mental health professional can be called to the scene.  Some Behavioral Health Regions have mobile crisis response teams that can be activated.  (A map of the regions can be found at http://dhhs.ne.gov/NetworkofCare.) Also, the person may have a Wellness Recovery Action Plan that provides information about what the person needs and what resources work best for them.  A responding officer can gain access to the plan to find out what would be useful to the person in crisis.
 
“The best crisis resolution is that the person is safe to remain in the community with professional help,” Adams said.  “This is the least traumatic outcome for the person and saves the community dollars, compared to the cost of a hospitalization or arrest.”
 
The training video can be found at http://1.usa.gov/TlMIa0.
 
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