Co-Responder Teams Changing How Minn. Police Deal With Mental Health Calls

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From MinnPost: “Watching the 911 dashboard, Officer Colleen Ryan saw it again: The address of a woman who calls Minneapolis police frequently during bursts of life-threatening anxiety.

Ryan notified her partner—a social worker—and the two drove to the woman in an unmarked police car. No sirens. No flashing lights. But this time around, Ryan wanted to do something different to help the woman, beyond their typical routine of giving her a ride to a hospital.

So Ryan and her partner sat down with the woman… and played a game of Yahtzee. And after 45 minutes of rolling the dice, the woman felt comfortable describing to Ryan and the social worker—a duo formally known as a mental-health co-responder team—her feelings. From there, the team shared tips and resources with the woman for if, or when, anxiety overcomes her again.

‘Now, she has a toolbox, and things that she can do differently, so that maybe she doesn’t need to make that call. She doesn’t need to be seen at a hospital time and time again. She recognizes that. But she didn’t have any other options,’ said Inspector Kathy Waite, who supervises MPD’s co-responder program that pairs police officers with mental-health professionals to help people on the verge of suicide or addressing other emotional crises. […]

‘It’s not a crime to have a mental illness and approaching [people] in a way that’s not criminalizing them, and making them afraid to call 911 and get help, is the biggest thing,’ Ryan said. ‘It’s a more comprehensive approach to mental-health calls, rather than cops also having to double as social workers and figure out these problems.’ […]

‘We can really take the time to listen to somebody; hear what they’re going through; help them feel a little bit understood… like they have somebody who just cares about them,’ [social worker Nils] Dybvig said. ‘It can make a big difference.’ […]

Law-enforcement agencies in cities such as SeattleBoston and Houston have adopted similar co-responder models to change how officers interact with people suffering from extreme anxiety, depression or psychosis. St. Paul set aside additional money in its 2019 budget to strengthen how mental-health experts work with police, too.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “We can really take the time to listen to somebody; hear what they’re going through; help them feel a little bit understood… like they have somebody who just cares about them … It can make a big difference.”

    Wow, what a concept! That was the opposite of my experience with police when I was minding my own business, watching the clouds, peacefully lying in a public park, trying to mentally come to grips with the reality that I had found the medical proof that the antipsychotics can create psychosis, via anticholinergic toxidrome.

    I was medically unnecessarily taken to a hospital by the policeman, given a $5000 physical against my will, which resulted in a “medically clear” diagnosis. I had refused to sign HIPPA forms, since I did not need a physical. I was held until midnight in that hospital, then medically unnecessarily shipped a long distance to a psychiatrist that was NOT my last psychiatrist. But a psychiatrist who was a “snowing” partner in crime with this now FBI convicted criminal doctor.

    http://chicagoist.com/2013/04/16/chicago_hospital_owner_doctors_arre.php

    The good thing was that once I’d pointed out to the hospital that medically unnecessarily shipped me to that criminal psychiatrist, without having signed HIPPA forms. That hospital did stop requesting payment. When you point out the crimes of the doctors, the hospitals do tend to get embarrassed.

    Let’s hope the police and paramedics stop behaving like insane people. Medically unnecessarily, illegally, and willy nilly dragging healthy people out of the comfort of their own beds, or for lying in a public park, and taking them to criminal doctors in hospitals. Have the police and paramedics been getting kickbacks from the criminal doctors for this type of illegal behavior? One has to wonder.

  2. When I worked at the rehab center at least twice a month someone had an anxiety attack and the emergency responders showed up.

    A few times I lied and said we had someone with epilepsy and exposure to flashing lights can trigger seizures. That was the only way to get those guys to turn that flashing light crap off that makes a crowd gather. Another time I asked why they send a ladder truck when no one is stuck in a tree or on the roof.

    There is no practical reason for making such a scene with those lights

    Wrote about this in 2013 https://www.madinamerica.com/forums/topic/ems-ambulance-flashing-lights-why-cant-they-just-shut-them-off-at-your-house/

  3. I have had acquaintances tell about police breaking into their homes with guns drawn though they weren’t breaking the law or violent. Why? Suicide calls.

    As dumb as it gets. Reminds me of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera where a man is going to be executed for attempted suicide. Dumb, dumber, dumbest….