March 1, 2016
Wheaton, IL: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) DuPage announced that it is the process of the training of the Lisle, Illinois police department on mental health recognition and response over a series of five full day training sessions. Approximately 40 police officers, including the Lisle Police Chief and civilian personnel, are participating in the training sessions. Lisle is the first community in DuPage County to actively train its entire police department in full day sessions and it selected NAMI DuPage to provide more comprehensive training based on prior, yet abbreviated, training sessions.
NAMI DuPage’s Community Education Program for Law Enforcement is designed to relay information on the recognition and intervention of mental illness to first responders. During the training, police officers learn first-hand the stories of individuals living with mental illness as well as learn to recognize symptoms that might otherwise go unnoticed, how to examine their own stigmas and biases toward individuals with mental illness, and how to respond in ways, using verbal de-escalations skills, that resolve the situation with maximum safety and long-term trust building. The training also incorporated professionals from MICAP (Mental Illness Court Alternative Program) and an attorney from the DuPage State’s Attorney’s Office. One of the other outcomes from the training is that police officers are more likely to divert individuals with mental illness into treatment rather than jailing them, which can have enormous benefits not only to the individual but to the community as well.
“Without the appropriate amount of mental health training for police, rash stigmatization and misinterpretation of the intentions of the mentally ill can cause vital errors and ultimately make the difference between life and death” stated Angela Adkins, Executive Director. It is our hope that these trainings will provide law enforcement professionals with the appropriate tools to be better prepared and more confident in the decisions they make when interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or mental health problems.
NAMI DuPage has long led the promotion of mental health training to local law enforcement departments throughout the county and has trained tens of hundreds of police officers in various communities over the past eight years, as well as the DuPage SWAT team and community police chiefs.
For more information on obtaining police mental health training, please contact Scotty Turner, Community Education Director at 630-752-0066.