News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, 2:42 p.m.
The number of mental-health cases encountered by law enforcement is on the rise -- leading the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office to take the lead in "Mental Health First Aid" training.
Throughout January and February, the Sheriff's Office will train approximately 100 Corrections Deputies in "Mental Health First Aid" -- giving those deputies a better understanding of mental-health issues.
"Mental Health First Aid" is an 8-hour course that teaches attendees how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance-use disorders. The training gives people the skills they need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental-health or substance-use problem or experiencing a crisis.
NAMI reports that a person in a mental-health crisis is more likely to encounter police than get medical help. As a result, 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails in the U.S. each year -- and nearly 15% of men and 30% of women booked into jails have a serious mental health condition.
TRAINING DEPUTIES TO UNDERSTAND MENTAL HEALTH
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office sent Sgt. Jason Ritter and Deputy Tim Jackson to a weeklong training to become Mental Health First Aid instructors in 2015.
Since then, Ritter and Jackson have brought the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to the Sheriff's Office Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for public safety; taught public classes in Molalla and Oregon City; and recently taught the course at Concordia University. They have several more classes scheduled -- including another class at Concordia and for the volunteers at Molalla Fire.
Crisis Intervention Training is a major initiative for the Sheriff's Office. Since February 2005, the Sheriff's Office has collaborated with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and local mental-health agencies to build the CIT program. CIT's goal is to provide information, tools, and resources to enhance first-responder encounters with the emotionally disturbed -- in jail and on the street -- and reduce overall incarcerations and risk of injury or death. The Sheriff's Office offers public-safety employees a 40-hour CIT class two times a year, drawing public-safety employees from around the state.
Mental Health First Aid has training designed for adults, youth, public safety, higher education, rural, veterans, and older adults. If you would like to learn more about Mental Health First Aid or want to find a course near you, click here. You can also visit www.gettrainedtohelp.com.
Sgt. Ritter is available to talk to news outlets about Mental Health First Aid training at the Clackamas County Jail. To set up an interview contact the CCSO Public Information Office.
Sergeant Brian Jensen
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office