N.H. Mental Health Org. Gets Federal Money For First Responder Trainings

Sep 20, 2018

Credit FDII / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal grant of $119,000 will allow New Hampshire's National Alliance on Mental Illness to train first responders in how to handle incidents where someone is having a mental health crisis.  

This type of training is known as crisis intervention. It'll be the first time there's a statewide effort to train state police on this, as well as fire and EMS responders.

These trainings will prepare first responders to do three main things: recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness; know what local mental health resources are available; and, de-escalate a situations with someone who's having a mental health crisis.

Susan Stearns is the deputy director of NAMI.  She said, last year, there were 24,000 EMS runs that involved someone who had a mental illness.

"Clearly, there's a need to make sure that our first responders have the tools to appropriately respond."

Stearns added she hopes the training will benefit individuals, communities and first responders.

"That's really the key here. That it becomes sort of a win-win-win here and that we have better outcomes across the board. "

With the grant money, NAMI will train nearly 400 state troopers, fire fighters and EMS responders over the next three years.

Part of the training will also focus on helping first responders deal with any work-related mental health issues, and they’ll start early next year.