Emergencies are tense situations for all involved, from callers in distress to dispatchers assessing the situation to law enforcement and emergency medical service providers responding to the call. When such calls involve individuals experiencing a mental health emergency, the danger for both the individual and responders increases.
Officials at Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services in California have taken on an active role working with local law enforcement officials and medical professionals as part of a Crisis Intervention Training committee.
“Going out to certain situations where you run into people with potential behavioral health issues, it’s not only a dangerous situation for those people, it’s also potentially a dangerous situation for law enforcement officials,” says Roger Perez, marketing and promotions coordinator for the county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services division. “We do training on a regular basis to try to minimize that danger so that these law enforcement officers are going in without a blind eye. They’re going in with knowledge of some things to look for so they don’t just go in and hope that the situation works out.”