St. Louis County mental health liaison, intervention team work t -

St. Louis County mental health liaison, intervention team work to de-escalate mental crises

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The St. Louis County Police receive an average of ten calls a day for someone suffering from a mental health crisis, but a special Crisis Intervention Team and liaison dedicated to de-escalating the situations are seeing results.

Officers from the Crisis intervention Team told News 4’s Laura Hettiger there is still such a stigma with mental health, people often ignore it until there is a major problem. At that point, 911 is frequently called to intervene.

“The criminal justice system is full of people with mental health disorders, so we’re really trying to get people connected with care and not end up in the criminal justice system, where the majority of people don’t belong,” said Danielle Conrey, St. Louis County’s full-time mental health liaison. Conrey joins officers to check on individuals who have experienced a crisis.

County officers respond to 70 mental health crisis calls every week. In order to adequately prepare officers to assist in mental health situations, 250 county officers a year receive crisis intervention training.

“Whether it be (that the) family called police to check up on them, making sure they are connected with long term care and making sure they are on the road to recovery,” said Conrey, describing her work with the county police.

Sergeant Jeremy Romo of St. Louis County Police said the department has made great strides in handing mental health situations.

However, when mental illness makes the national news, such as in the Colorado theater shooting, the stigma associated with mental problems becomes even more prevalent, Sgt. Romo said.

“(It tends) to cause people to associate mental illness to violence and the reality is that people with mental health disorders are not any more likely to be violent than the general public,” said Sgt. Romo. “In fact, they are 11 times more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.”

County police call their approach a true example of community policing.

If you or a loved one need help with a mental health crisis, you can reach mental health counselors by calling or texting the Behavior Health Response 24 hour crisis hotline at 314-469-6644. Behavior Health Response also offers free Mental Health First Aid training for those who want to recognize the signs of mental illness.

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