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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #MentalHealth And #LawEnforcement

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Garrison Hardie

NPC Prosecutor’s Office

What happens when someone is in a #mentalhealthcrisis and needs help? If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or is in emotional distress, you can call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255) or chat with someone live online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat. If the situation is potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911, available 24 hours a day. Likely, a #policeofficer will respond and assess the person in crisis. If the #policeofficer feels the person is likely to harm themselves, they will be taken to our local hospital, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

According to Chief Budd Hurd, when an #officer is called to crisis intervention, the officer will do an independent assessment of the situation, based on what is being reported and what the officer is seeing and being told personally. The Lewiston #PoliceDepartment has a policy on how to respond to this situation, but there is no one size fits all type of approach, as there can be so many different signs and symptoms that an officer has to look for. As with all calls, safety is a priority for both the #officers involved and the person that is being evaluated. There are different tactics for each type of response, first and foremost in a mental crisis, is to get help for the individual, but other factors have to be taken in as well. For instance, there might be a criminal element that has to be dealt with or is the person combative, in these instances the officer will try and employ only the type of force reasonably needed to control the person. In a mental health crisis, de-escalation is a key component. Having compassion, being #patient and a good listener will assist the officer in determining the issue. If an officer feels that the person is a threat to themselves or others, then they will be taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center on a police hold, which is outlined in Idaho State Code 66-326. If the officer determines otherwise, information will be given to the person in distress, so they can seek additional help and support.

In 2020, our community saw a 32 percent rise in suicides, by analysis of Nez Perce County Coroner Josh Hall, and the Lewiston #PoliceOfficers responded to 184 calls relating to an individual at risk of committing #suicide. On average, local #lawenforcement officers are addressing a suicidal individual every other day in our community.

“When law enforcement brings an individual in a #mentalhealthcrisis to the hospital, emergency department #physicians and staff will evaluate the resources available, including our inpatient #behavioralhealth unit, and determine the most appropriate solution for each #patient,” said Tiffany Castelitz, ER Director. With the rise in #mentalhealthcases being handled by law enforcement, what can our community do to help address the issue? What issues need to be addressed to keep people from falling through the gaps? In the next few days, we will provide information on additional resources that may help fill the voids.

On May 24, 2021, the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office will be hosting a “Community Discussion: #MentalHealth” a community town hall with panel participants to include the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office, Lewiston Police Department, Social Services, and local #non-profitorganizations.

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