Mental Health Crisis Training This Month

Police officers from all over Michigan will be in New Buffalo this month for training on mental health crisis intervention. Riverwood Center Jail Diversion Supervisor Gretchen Carlson tells WSJM News the training teach those who work with the criminal justice system on how to handle situations involving the mentally ill.

“We teach signs and symptoms of mental illness, local resources that police can help send people and family members to in the community,” Carlson said.

Carlson tells us crisis intervention training began back in the 1980s in Tennessee to prevent incidents in which police might use force on someone having a mental health crisis.

“The conference is about helping communities develop their own CIT programs throughout the state,” Carlson said.

Carlson says this is the first Michigan Crisis Intervention Team Conference to be held, and it’s partly thanks to a grant from the state. She says police agencies are getting better at recognizing mental illness and referring people who need help to the right programs. 75 people will receive the training at the two-day event at the Four Winds Casino starting September 17.