CRISIS INTERVENTION: Mental and Behavioral Health Response [2023]

Course Preview

Course Author(s)

Julie A. Solomon MSW LSCSW MBA

Course Summary

Recognizing and Responding to Persons in a Mental and Behavioral Health Crisis

Why this training is important:

About 21% of an officer’s time is spent responding to and transporting people living with mental health conditions. Why? Because police services are available 24/7/365 and most mental health services are not. 

  • This ties up police resources that could be spent on more traditional police functions. 
  • It also reinforces the criminalization of mental health conditions and that a police response is more appropriate than a medical response.

25% of all fatal encounters with law enforcement involve a person with severe mental illness. This is tragic for everyone—officers, families, and communities. 

People experiencing a mental health issue are often booked into the jail or taken to the emergency room and are back on the street before an officer’s shift ends. This is clearly a sign of a broken mental health system. We have to do better. 

Identifying common signs and symptoms of mental and behavioral health conditions and how best to respond to these crises is increasingly a 21st century policing mandate.

In this course, you will learn:

A basic overview of the history and evolution of the mental health crisis response

An overview of signs and symptoms of common mental and behavioral health and neurological conditions that law enforcement officers are most likely to encounter, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTS(D)
  • Bipolar condition
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance use
  • Suicide
  • Autism spectrum

De-escalation strategies and tactics, including what officers should and should not do when interacting with someone in crisis. The majority of law enforcement training, from academy to orientation and through annual in-service, tends to be predominantly focused on tactical training: proper use of force, tiered force options, defensive tactics, annual firearm certification, etc. These are all important training areas, but they are often at the expense of training on de-escalation tactics, fair and impartial policing,


Course Syllabus

  • Module 1 - History and Stigma

    • Introduction by Julie Solomon
    • History
    • Stigma
    • Stigma Continued
    • Assessment
  • Module 2 - Overview of Common Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions

    • Clinical Depression
    • Interacting With People Suffering From Clinical Depression
    • Anxiety
    • PTS(D)
    • Substance Use
    • Bipolar
    • Bipolar Examples
    • Schizophrenia
    • Bipolar and Schizophrenia - What Officers Can Do
    • Autism
    • Why Do People Go Off Their Medications?
    • Assessment
  • Module 3 - Interacting with People In Crisis

    • Skills and Training
    • De-escalation
    • Connections Before Corrections
    • Listening Skills
    • In Closing
    • Assessment