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Police gain greater understanding of mental health

"Police gain greater understanding of mental health "

Training to improve awareness of mental health is being rolled out to all Police, including frontline staff.

Guidance is being delivered through e-learning modules, which have been developed by the Police Mental Health Team with Dr Sarah Gordon and colleagues of the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington.

“Police already do a good job of managing mental health-related incidents.

This training further enables staff to recognise when people are in mental distress, respond appropriately and connect them to the relevant services available,” says Inspector Sue Douglas, Project Manager Mental Health Team at New Zealand Police.

“Mental health training is part of existing practices built in to recruit training at the Royal New Zealand Police College.

About 600 staff at our Communication Centres (111) have also been trained to better respond to people in mental distress.

“There’s a huge interest in mental health from staff in our 12 districts because it’s a large part of our work in terms of demand,” says Ms Douglas.

Dr Sarah Gordon says it has been incredible working with Police.

"They have been so receptive to taking a very strong evidence-based approach, which will be more effective in the long term.

“The e-learning modules are fronted by people who have experienced mental distress, including myself.

“The programmes explain the need for Police staff to communicate and to be understanding, compassionate and respectful when considering how to respond to an individual and the circumstances they are in.

“Responding in this way can and will have a positive impact on the recovery and lives of people who experience mental distress,” she says.


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