Policing and Mental Health

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There should be a better collaborative effort between the Police Force and the Mental Health Centre, when it comes to detaining and dealing with mentally ill persons.

This is the opinion of Former Police Officer, Fitzbourne Chambers, who shared this while speaking on the WakeUpCall on Monday (June 15) with Tha Fugitive and Christal.

Concerns have been raised within social networks about how police deal with mentally ill persons.

Chambers said that there needs to be a collaboration between police and the Mental Health Department with regard to dealing with the mentally ill.

“In terms of mentally ill, the issue is a big one,” Chambers.

An Inspector at the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Training school confirmed to XtremeFM on Monday (June 15) that recruits are trained in the area of mental health.

Chambers went on to say that training needs to be redeveloped to suit modern times, noting that discipline is estranged.

The former Police Officer shared some skills on how to deal with mental ill persons upon contact.

“The best thing you can do when dealing with a mentally ill person, is try to have a dialogue with them.”

For impromptu situations, Chambers indicated that an assessment should be made before approaching.

Chambers suggested that a list of mentally ill persons in each district should be posted at the police station. This would come through a collaborative effort between the police and the mental health center.

In an article published on the Royal SVG Police Force’s website, it states that on Tuesday April 30, 2019, 88 Police Officers received certificates of participation in de-escalating skills in dealing with mentally ill persons. Prior to this batch, 79 Police Recruits received the same training from professionals in the Department of Mental Health in the Ministry of Health and the Environment.

“Elizabeth Sister Medford (Senior Nursing Officer at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre) said that the training is a significant step forward in the re-integration towards mental health into primary care. She articulated that police officers are now more knowledgeable, competent, confident and certified in the delivery of effective and efficient care to mentally ill patients. Sister Medford further stated that the police who are first in line to being called upon many times in the community, now have the skills and knowledge that they need to de-escalate challenging situations, keeping the patients safe and also preventing injury to themselves,” the article read.