Brooklyn Park offers Mental Health First Aid
The city will train staff members on mental health in a series of classes offered this month. The training will cover not only identifying and dealing with mental health issues, but the stigma surrounding it.
Police are hosting two classes this month for city staff.
Brooklyn Park police officers teach mental health first aid classes. The course is eight hours long and involves role-playing and simulations. The classes teach city employees how to see, identify and help those with mental health issues get the resources they need.
“As good of a job as we have done training and preparing police officers to deal with mental health issues, those tend to be the very extreme cases when police officers are called by 911 to intervene,” said Brooklyn Park Deputy Police Chief Mark Bruley. “Those are real crisis scenarios with mental health people. This is different. This is the day to day activities of our civilian staff who come across people with mental health. That’s where we think it’s a little different and we want our staff to be well prepared.”
The Brooklyn Park Police Department has invited any city employee to attend these classes. Police officials say they have seen a dramatic increase in mental health calls in recent years. They believe having civilian staff be as prepared as their officers is a positive step.
“Part of that is we have a lot of civilian staff city-wide that interact with our residents and some of those residents have mental health issues,” Bruley said. “So part of this program was to train all of our civilian staff to be able to identify and assess those that have mental health issues while they are out in the public.”
Bruley also says that removing the stigma of mental health is critical.