Alliance Behavioral Healthcare has now trained every employee of the Raleigh Police Department – officers as well as non-sworn employees – in techniques that help them recognize and respond appropriately to people in behavioral health crisis.
Alliance is the managed care organization for publicly-funded behavioral healthcare services for the people of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties. Alliance works with a network of almost 2200 private providers to serve the needs of 471,000 Medicaid-eligible and uninsured individuals within a total population of 1.8 million.
In total, 407 police officers have received either Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) or Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, or both. 319 received CIT training, which provides the skills necessary to recognize and respond appropriately to individuals in behavioral health crisis. They learned to de-escalate dangerous situations and refer individuals, when appropriate, to treatment instead of emergency departments or jail. 28 of those officers received specialized training in how to respond to military veterans in crisis. Almost 100 other Raleigh PD employees have received Mental Health First Aid training, an eight-hour, evidence-based curriculum that teaches a five-step action plan to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem, and to reach out and offer appropriate support until professional treatment is secured or the crisis resolves.
“CIT is proven to improve the safety of both officers and citizens and to significantly reduce the number of re-arrests of people with a mental illness,” said Ann Oshel, head of Community Relations for Alliance. “And MHFA is for everyone – the skills taught in these trainings have tremendous value for our communities.”
All told, Alliance has provided CIT training to almost 3000 police officers, firefighters, EMS paramedics and other emergency responders and 911 telecommunicators throughout its four-county coverage area, and over 3500 people from all walks of life have received Mental Health First Aid training from Alliance, preparing them to be ready when needed. To register for an MHFA training, use the calendar at AllianceBHC.org or to schedule a training for your office or group, contact the Alliance Access and Information Center at (800) 510-9132.