Intervention training is a worthy goal

Emergency first responders daily encounter people having some of the worst experiences of their lives, and that includes serious mental illnesses.

According to a U.S. Justice Department report, research has shown that:

∫ between 6% and 10% of all police contacts with the public involve persons with serious mental illness,

∫ at least one in four persons fatally shot by police had a serious mental illness,

∫ and, more than 1 million times per year, a person with mental illness is arrested in the U.S.

Beginning next month, Northeast Michigan first responders will receive training through Alpena’s Partners in Prevention on how to deal most helpfully with those who have mental illness.

“It makes people more aware of signs and symptoms, what might they be encountering, and then how to respond most helpfully — not only to maintain the safety of this individual, but the safety of the officers and, ideally, helping find the best resources for the center individuals who are having a mental health concern and connecting them with resources,” Mary Schalk, program director of Partners in Prevention, told News staff writer Mike Gonzalez for a recent story.

We’re pleased to see Partners in Prevention put on the training, funded by part of a $125,000 grant the nonprofit received.

Our police interact routinely with people with mental illnesses, and dealing with that the wrong way can lead to bad outcomes for everyone.

Dealing with it the right way, however, can lead to positive outcomes for everyone involved — most importantly, by keeping everyone involved, including the officer, safe.

Thanks go to Partners in Prevention for putting on the training and to our law enforcement and other first responders for taking the training so they can do their jobs most effectively.


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