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Mental Health Training for Correctional Officers

HeadshotPeace officers, including corrections officers, deputies, city and State officers, often interface with subjects who have a mental illness, who may be suicidal, or who suffer from addiction. Officer conduct and use of force have gained an increase in attention and public scrutiny. It has been demonstrated that proper training leads to a decrease in the use of force, and an overall improvement in interactions leading to better outcomes for officers and patients.

This Mental Health Training for Correctional Officers has been developed by mental health professionals with decades of experience working with peace officers in the treatment and intervention of offenders with mental illnesses. Topics in this training include:

Mental illness and interventions

  • Serious mental illnesses
  • Signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • How mental illness develops
  • Firsthand experiences of those with a mental illness
  • Effective interventions with mentally ill

Intervening with a suicidal offender

  • Difference between suicide, suicide attempts, and non-lethal self-injurious behavior
  • Reasons people die by suicide
  • Warning signs for suicide
  • Risk factors and protective factors
  • Crisis intervention techniques for suicidal subject

Crisis response and intervention

  • Definition of a crisis
  • Who is vulnerable to experiencing crisis
  • Phases of a crisis
  • Effective crisis intervention techniques

Substance abuse and addiction

  • Definition of addiction and substance use disorders
  • Process of addiction on the brain
  • Classifications and effects of different substances
  • Recognizing the presentation of individuals under the influence

Dynamics of domestic violence

  • Dynamics and cycle of domestic violence
  • Types of abuse
  • Ways to recognize victims of psychological abuse
  • Why it is difficult for victims to leave
  • Interview techniques for domestic disputes

Involuntary hospitalization and criminalization of the mentally ill

  • Involuntary hospitalization criteria
  • Impact of mental illness on society and homelessness
  • Effective interventions for those who are a danger to themselves, to others, or who are gravely disabled

The training includes specific learning objectives as well as the use of videos to illustrate the most relevant topics.

When officers have appropriate training in the elements of mental illness, crisis intervention, and de-escalation techniques, they will feel more prepared when intervening with this population, and negative and unsafe outcomes will be reduced.

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