ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital partners with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department to provide mental health crisis intervention training for deputies. The training is designed to help people with mental health disorders or addictions access medical treatment before the criminal justice system needs to become involved.
About 90 law enforcement officers have received the team-based training through NAMI Wisconsin and NAMI Waukesha, which are aligned with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The goal is to reduce incidents and injuries for individuals affected by mental health disorders or substance use. Officer and community safety are also benefits.
Oconomowoc Memorial’s support for the training is an outgrowth of ProHealth’s Community Health Needs Assessment, which identified substance abuse and access to care as top priorities.
“We know that mental health and substance abuse are closely linked,” said Sarah Butz, ProHealth’s director of community benefit. “This initiative helps to address both of these concerns in our community.”
The 40-hour crisis intervention course includes:
- An overview of mental illnesses and symptoms.
- Education about de-escalating mental health crises safely and effectively.
- Presentations and discussions with people who are living with mental illness and their family members.
- Other interactive educational opportunities, including site visits and police ride-alongs.
The training is part of a community partnership that includes NAMI, the Waukesha County Heroin and Illicit Drug Task Force, law enforcement agencies, health care systems and providers, and community members living with mental illness.