Considering the fact that the police department in the United States receives calls from people not only for solving crime cases, but also for dealing with crisis situations – people threatening to commit suicide, dealing with emotional distress or needing help to deal with addiction, the Yakima Police Department in Washington recently hired a mental health professional to their ranks. The professional travels with the officers in their patrol cars, thus making immediate help available to those in need.
The professional was provided by a nonprofit organization through a grant received from the state. According to Courtney Helsa, working with the nonprofit, people are moving in and out of jail without receiving the required treatment and support; and professional help when people are in need can help break the cycle they face in a crisis.
Mobile units in Buffalo to help in dealing with addiction
Another case in point was the launch of two specially equipped mobile units to help individuals get rid of opioid addiction either in person or via webcam in Buffalo, New York. The innovative idea allowed the staff, consisting of a counselor, a nurse, and a peer specialist, to offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to those dealing with opioid addiction. Operational throughout Erie and Niagara counties, the large vans can be found outside emergency rooms, jails, bus stations and libraries.
The presence of a peer specialist in the van encouraged others battling an addiction to approach the unit for help. Patients seeking help got prescriptions to overcome their addiction.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 18.3 percent U.S. adults were dealing with any mental illness (AMI) in 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that nearly 66 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription or illicit opioid. With such staggering figures staring at the country, it is obvious that to tackle these problems, strategy needs to be implemented at not just the state and federal levels, but even the ground level.
Life-threatening issues should be treated at priority
Drug addiction is a major health concern in the United States. The need of the hour is to take stringent steps to tackle these problems. Taking initiatives like introducing mobile outreach vans to treat addiction and hiring mental health experts in the police department’s ranks are new and original ways to help those dealing with such issues.
While these steps are necessary and can help make a difference in the number of affected people, one must never undermine the significance of seeking help from a professional in order to get the right kind of support to attain recovery.