The Yuma Police Department has completed the first of many Mental Health First Aid classes, geared toward Public Safety personnel, to be taught to officers and civilian staff. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that gives staff members skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
Just as knowing CPR helps assistants respond to a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps responders with a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, participants learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. This new tool will help officers and civilian staff to recognize the signs of mental illness, help them de-escalate the situation and find the appropriate resources to get the help that is needed.
City of Yuma Chief of Police John Lekan stated, “Every day our officers respond to people in crisis due to mental illness or substance abuse. This course will help our officers and staff to identify what they are facing, how to deal with the situation and help the people who need it. It’s another resource in our toolbox to help our community.”