Mental health group wants training for emergency responders
This is an extremely important issue that's rarely discussed in the media. A lot of the violent encounters between police and the mentally ill would be reduced by such a program.
My vote is for effective talking instead of Tasers.
The Canadian Mental Health Association is trying to initiate a training program for emergency responders so they can better respond to calls involving mentally ill people.
The association says it has been working for six months to try to bring the training to New Brunswick but the provincial government won't commit to providing the needed additional funding, said Jason Purdy, the association's director of programs in New Brunswick.
"From everyone we've spoken to, it's been a great positive reaction. The biggest thing right now is no one is willing to move forward with it and put the funding in where it is needed," Purdy said.
The cost of the training is estimated at $250 per person. It is meant to educate police officers and other front-line workers about how to deal with mental illness when responding to emergency calls.
The training course would provide emergency responders with insight into what's prompting a mentally ill individual's actions and how to help calm the person, Purdy said.
"What it does, it really brings normalcy to the mental illness itself," he said.
"It really helps them relate and understand the mental health client and so when an officer comes into a situation in contact with someone with a mental illness, that they relate to them as more of a person."