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National Safety Month: Future police cadets in Texas to undergo crisis intervention training to handle mentally ill
Posted in Mental Health

The atmosphere at one’s workplace and work pressure can have an adverse impact on one’s mental health. Though this is true for most professions but especially so for those working in armed forces or law enforcement agencies where one has to perform in dangerous and demanding conditions sometimes. Various incidents of police officers in Texas being shot while performing their duties exhibit the risk associated with the job. From January 2000 to May 2017, 79 peace officers in Texas were shot dead in the line of duty; a figure that highlights the lack of safety for people assigned the task of making the city safe.

To stress on the need to reduce the frequency of events resulting in potential injury and death at workplace, on the road, in home or community networks, every year “National Safety Month” is observed in June in the United States. An examination of crimes against police officers in Texas revealed that roughly a third of those apprehended were afflicted with some form of mental health problem. Other killers had problems such as drug addiction, violence and crime. The observations are pursuant to results obtained from the Fallen project that evaluated grievous crimes in recent history and pointed at the deadly loopholes apart from providing necessary solutions to plug the problem.

An examination by KXAN of episodes of gunshot violence and killing of police officers revealed that in an estimated one-third of the cases investigated by them, the distressed killers had a history of mental illness, as per court and police records. The analysis was drawn after an exhaustive examination of the records over a period of 10 months. Information was also obtained from medical histories, media and body camera footages accessed under the Texas Public Information Act. In around 20 percent cases analyzed by the KXAN, the killers with mental illness had previously been a part of law enforcement agencies or the military or both.

The KXAN study indicated the shortage in providing protection to police across Texas. Apart from this, the researchers revealed the need for better mental health training for officers and improved communications between law enforcement agencies about potential violent arrests and their struggles with emotional problems.

Availing mental health training

Realizing the significance of imparting mental health education to those working in law enforcement agencies, the state of Texas is now offering a voluntary 40-hour course to help police officers become a certified mental health officer. The syllabus focuses on de-escalation methods during crisis, identifying situations, which warrant help from mental health experts and providing the best possible solution to those living with mental illnesses.

Officers in Texas already need to undergo a 16-hour crisis intervention training. However, the guidelines laid down by the current legislative session requires future law enforcement cadets to adhere to the entire course spanning over 40 hours. Elucidating the importance of the training, State Representative Garnet F. Coleman said, “I think if everyone is trained, then they go into [a situation where] they understand what they might be confronting. There are certain tools that we can use to keep everyone safe and also have a better dialogue between the public and the police.”

Mental illness and substance abuse could go hand in hand

With so many factors responsible for the turmoil within, it is always good to share one’s feelings with family members and loved ones. It is important to realize that sharing experiences might inspire others to come forward and seek help for problems like addiction and mental problems.

Mental health problems and physical ailments need the same kind of treatment. To alleviate the pain and anguish characteristic of mental disorders, some people tend to resort to addictive substances. When people seek treatment for their substance abuse problems, clinicians fail to realize that the root problem might be the psychological distress. In such cases, it is imperative to refer the patients to dual diagnosis rehabs. The dual diagnosis treatment centers in Texas help in quick recovery of patients availing necessary treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about residential dual diagnosis treatment centers in the U.S.

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