Mental Health Seminar Trains Safety Leaders

By: Erica Proffer Email
By: Erica Proffer Email

When it becomes a criminal situation, it's not always cut and dry what to do with the suspect.

If the person taken into custody has a mental illness, there are special treatment options for them.

That's why the national alliance on mental illness, or NAMI, is bringing law enforcement officers, EMS leaders and firefighters together with mental health employees.

"Instead of police officer automatically carting them off to jail where they may not get the appropriate medication they need, we can get them to some area to help them prior to them being stuck in the prison system," says Rita Fike, Treasurer for NAMI Wiregrass.

"It's how to handle people having problems in the community and how to handle them correctly is something that we need to be able to do to keep from causing any more stress like that on people," says Sgt. Tim Ward, Dothan Police Department.

At the seminar, Wallace Community College leaders announced their partnership with NAMI-- giving not only more seminars for law enforcement, but also to the general public.

"We would eventually get to the point to where we could start a Crisis Intervention Team that would consist of law enforcement officers, counselors, social workers, the judge of probate and so forth. It's everyone coming together to work with those with a mental illness," says Fike.

Ultimately, sponsors hope to get rid of any stigmas that are attached to mental illness.

If you want more information about mental health issues or the NAMI organization, call Zoe Newby at 702-2952.


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