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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Start Training #Officers To Better Detect, Address #MentalHealthIssues

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By Nick Blizzard

OAKWOOD – The Oakwood Safety Department has started a series of training sessions aimed at improving how #officers deal with individuals with #mentalhealthconditions.

The programs will give Oakwood’s sworn safety personnel — all certified as #policeofficers, #firefighters and #paramedics/EMTs — up to about 70 hours of training to help safely and effectively do their job, city Safety Director Alan Hill said.

“Increasing an officer’s knowledge and understanding of #mentalillness will assist them in de-escalation, ensuring the best outcomes in challenging situations,” according to Hill.

Nearly one in five U.S. #adults, or 51.5 million, lived with a #mentalillness in 2019, according to the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth.

#Mentalillness-related needs are growing among all #adult age groups, Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County records show. Some of the most common #mentalhealth diagnoses among people ages 16 to 24 increased from 2009 to 2014, according to PHDMC.

Three of them — attention deficit disorder, #anxiety disorders and Schizophrenia — jumped by more than 20%.

The number of #mentalhealth cases Oakwood handles in a given time period is difficult to quantify, Hill said in an email.

“I could have an officer talking with someone right now,” he said. “That person could be exhibiting signs of suffering from a #mentalcondition.

“But as long as they show the ability to care for themselves, not showing signs of wanting to harm themselves or others, and do not present in a manic state, the officer’s initial observations may never be documented in an official report,” Hill added. “Therefore, no real way for me to tell you frequency during service calls.”

#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

Oakwood’s training will include a 40-hour crisis intervention training certification course for all first-line supervisors, and all sworn safety department personnel will complete #mentalhealth first aid, according to a news release from the city.

A session on #suicide intervention was led by Dr. Sallie Wilson Luther, a member of the Oakwood Board of Health, and Leigh Ann Fulford, a certified trainer on the topic.

Luther said the “Oakwood community has been at the forefront of #suicideprevention” the past several years.

Officers will also receive de-escalation training that will provide “the essential tools and tactics needed to achieve the most desirable outcome when dealing with an individual in crisis,” according to the city.

Photo by Ludmila Aleksandra on Pexels.com

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