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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Friend is working a project trying to figure out how to maybe help those with mental health problem more. The target group is Veterans with P.T.S.D. That is a tought subject to deal with.

One of the problems is many Physicatry Residency programs, are not attracting the young doctors. Who are applying for this residency, so residency spots go unfilled. So there are less M.D.'s and D.O.'s in the field to see patients. I know from talking to one VA M.D., who just retired this is true. He say the handling problem are mostly PHd, Ms's, Physcicians, and Nurse Practicioners.

I was hoping any recent graduates of police acadamy might answer if dealing with mentally ill people got covered much in basic academy? If so approx how many hours.

Or if you an experenced officer, trooper, etc., was this subject part of your on going inservice, advanced training?

Or was the subject of dealing with those with mental health problems, just something you learn over time on the job?

I know in talking with Veterans who use VA for their MH problems, let's say diplomatically the lines are long. Plus it is hard to find outside providers who want to wait a long time for payments from the VA.

Thanks for your input.
 

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Having been retired for 5 years, i cant answer the academy question. But i can say that for at least 5 years before i retired i got more inservice training in dealing with mental health issues than i did in basic first aid and CPR! Tons more. I bet my last CPR class was sometime in the 90's!
 

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There is a basic mental health class taught in the AZ academy. 10 hrs, IIRC, on just recognition and effects of various illness. Separately, there is another block on effective communication with people in crisis, though that includes victims and autism in addition to mental illness.

Crisis intervention training is a 40 hour class specific to mental health and such. I'd say just under half of the cops end up attending at some point.

Then there's the sheer repetition. Literally a third of calls here for service have someone whose cheese slipped off their cracker.

FWIW, PTSD is a very small sliver of what I see daily. Vast majority are bi-polar or paranoid schizophrenics.
 

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Idaho it’s a 4 hr block, I believe, of mental health stuff. Mainly it addresses recognizing signs of someone having an issue. It doesn’t really cover how to deal with it.

there is a CIT class that is taught locally every year. It’s 32 hrs. But it’s voluntary and I’d say generously maybe 25% of officers have attended it. Which is sad because I’d say the majority of public nuisance and or violent calls are mental health related.

And agreed with Sam spade. Most of what we see around here is bi polar or manic and not PTSD. I know a lot of people claim ptsd but they don’t show the signs and they are mostly looking for attention with never actually seeing a dr but also won’t take the help when offered.
 

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Plenty of training, but it's mostly recognition, crisis intervention and get them to a MH provider. But those providers do the heavy lifting with it and they are stretched thin. Plus the MH field is part science, part guessing and part art. It's far from an exact science but they do have their share of success stories.
 

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Need a class with dealing with admins, who by and large tend to be out of touch with the reality of working the street.
 

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In TX you get it in the academy, you get it in in-service training, heck many agencies have dedicated units to answer mental health calls. I am not going to say it never happened but I don't remember ever answering a PTSD call. All mine seemed to be straight up crazy calls. The Asian female trying to stab me with a 7in kitchen knife was the worst followed by an Asian male hearing voices to kill people.
I went to a private security conference one year and a female shrink out of Austin spoke. I wish I could remember her name but she made the most sense and they had a dedicated program with helping those with PTSD and a very high success rate. This was maybe 5 years ago and she was a bit of a looker too.

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Do you guys feel the number of calls dealing with the mentally ill has increased or decreased over the last ten to twenty years? Also do you feel the amount of prescription drugs available these days has helped or hindered the situations?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Need a class with dealing with admins, who by and large tend to be out of touch with the reality of working the street.

Your observation are on the money, corporate America has the same attatude. The people doing the work, see problems at ground level. Problem is many people in the Ivory towers have the attitude. If you know so much you would not be down with the public, you would be in the Ivory towers with the people runnig the company. Polite way to say your input is not nessessary.
 

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Do you guys feel the number of calls dealing with the mentally ill has increased or decreased over the last ten to twenty years? Also do you feel the amount of prescription drugs available these days has helped or hindered the situations?
Sky rocketed.

By the time they get to me, they’re usually off their meds, or self medicating. Can’t really say if Doc Pill Pusher is making things better or worse.
 

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In Washington state, all recruits at the academy get a sizeable amount of crisis, force options response and de-escalation training within the ~750 hour academy. In my department, officers are required to attend a 40 hour CIT class (meeting county mandates, state requires officers complete 2 hours of training per year to maintain peace officer certification). New officers in my department attend the 40 hour CIT class within the first two years of hire. In that class, Veteran related crisis issues were not deeply looked at and as I recall, it was just about an hour and glanced over. As a Veteran myself, that disappointed me. But the reality is that I come across very few Veterans with problems or mental health issues.

Now, like Sam wrote, crisis calls are taking off as more of the general public and the various government leaders want to add "crisis counselor" to our workload while yelling that we are not doing enough. We document them more than before. We are part of a multi-agency program that deals with chronic crisis subjects. A MHP rides a few days a week with each partner agency and that MHP goes with a uniformed officer to make contact.
 

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Do you guys feel the number of calls dealing with the mentally ill has increased or decreased over the last ten to twenty years? Also do you feel the amount of prescription drugs available these days has helped or hindered the situations?
From an EMS point of view our run volume is probably around 95% mental issue calls. When I started 32 yrs ago we got maybe one or two psych calls a week. Now it’s at least 7-10 per day. The majority are just like @Sam Spade said, bipolar and paranoid schizophrenic, with added drug or alcohol addiction.

As far as the prescription drug thing, it’s split 50/50. Although we are seeing more and more mental patients refuse any meds given to them. Most just stop taking their meds, either because they don’t want to or they sell/trade them for other drugs. Inpatient help is non existent here so if we transport them to the psych ward, they are right back out on the street within an hour or so.
 

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Do you guys feel the number of calls dealing with the mentally ill has increased or decreased over the last ten to twenty years? Also do you feel the amount of prescription drugs available these days has helped or hindered the situations?
its increased big time. I’m not sure what the actual numbers are. But they are big. 10 years ago you might have two mental health holds a month as a road cop. Now. You’ll have a few every week and it’s not uncommon to have two or more a day.

sometimes the meds help. But most people won’t take them. Or they start taking them and then stop because they are fixed or at least they think they are. Then a bunch just sell them and use that to buy illegal drugs, mainly meth, which just makes their problem that much worse.
 

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The last 40 hour class I took before I retired was our CIT class. My old department was putting everyone through it and the recruits should get it as 40 hours during basic training going forward.

I honestly can't recall how much if any specific mental health response training I got during my basic academy way back in the 1900s. I do remember a field trip to Eastern State Hospital, which is the state run mental hospital covering the Eastern half of KY. It is the source of probably 90% of Lexington's homeless problem. People get brought in from the hills and dumped at Eastern State. Nobody comes to take them back once they get discharged. Their meds run out and they end up our problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well there is a lot of information being shared. I personally think a lot of the younger veterans are victims of too many deployments. With not enough time to wind down.

Talking to recently medically retired USMC Combat Engineer. He had done 14 years before being blown up on last deployment. That was # 9 in 14 years service.

Even throbread race horses get rested, they do not race daily.

Draftees during Vietnam were 12 months in country, out of two year of draft service. Then most did not reenlist, returned to old life.
 

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If you know so much you would not be down with the public, you would be in the Ivory towers with the people runnig the company. Polite way to say your input is not nessessary.
Unfortunately that's the way it is in many arenas. The people in the trenches know what needs done, but they're over ridden by the people that "know better"
 

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Dealing with the mentally ill is something that we do on a daily basis. A 40 hr CIT course is common, and in entry level training it’s covered in the academy I went to, to include scenarios throughout the duration of the academy.

I’d venture to say I’ve had more formal mental health training, than traffic stop training. Definitely more if you include in service.

Mental health response is all the rage these days, so you can expect it to be fairly extensive across the board.

The truth is, although we receive a lot of training on mental health, it really shouldn’t be our problem if a crime hasn’t been committed.
 

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With the closure of many mental health hospitals and wards, states have sent many patients to be housed in prisons, while releasing many to the streets, many of which become homeless.

State prisons provide secure shelter, food, psych medications and psychiatric care personnel to assist them the psych inmates/residents.

Prisons and hospitals have become overwhelmed by the number of mental health patients, and those mentally damaged by drugs.

Police, EMS, fire, social workers, general public etc, are placed in positions where they have to engage the mentally ill. with very little or no training or experience to deal with them.

PTSD and Vets are a subset of a large group of individuals, subject to lasting shock as a result of an emotionally disturbing experience or physical injury.

Personally, the VA hospitais are better equipped to deal with PTSD due to their long time experiences with Vets with PTST and both their emotional and physical injuries.
The armed services is responsible for most of the Vets PTSD cases. They put the service members in extremely harmful mental and physical situations.
 
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