Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The ‘Memphis Model’, the US police mental health program that gets into mood swings

Blanc, Gonzalez and Codina visit Miami Police mental health training courses. , Feather

Local agents will receive training in crisis intervention with the help of Efesol and municipal services

Andrea Jimenez

In 1988, the city of Memphis launched a mental health project that now descends on the Costa del Sol. It is the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program known as the ‘Memphis Model’, which aims to help people living with mental illness and/or addiction in a crisis situation. This community model further seeks to involve various agents of society and provides specialized training to the security forces and bodies needed to promote a safe response in this type of conflict. One of the promoters of this initiative in Málaga is the local police of Mijas ngel Blanc, which will provide this training to agents in collaboration with Efesol and the Fuengirola-Mijas Mental Health Unit.

Blanc has been working as a tutor agent for years, and emphasizes that the cooperation of various social agents is essential for personal and correct attention. “If cases were treated early, they would not become pathology.” Thus, he began to investigate mental health programs in which police intervened, and found the CIT, which has been followed by more than 4,000 municipalities and cities, mainly from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. “After many years of contact, we organized a tour to see the entire event in situ.”

The Mijas police officer traveled to Miami to study and analyze the initiative and thus establish it on the Costa del Sol, accompanied by Cristian González from Efesol, and Israel Codina, the coordinator of the Fuengirola-Mijas mental health unit.

Specifically, the CIT is a community association of law enforcement, mental health, and addiction professionals, individuals with mental illness and/or addictive disorders, their families, and other advocates. This first response model of police crisis intervention training seeks to help people with the disorder access medical treatment rather than placing them in the criminal justice system because of illness-related behaviors, and promotes the protection of police officers and the person in crisis. .

On their campaign, the Mijas team patrolled with one of these special units, stuffing animals, water and clothing inside the vehicle to get closer to the homeless. “It’s a more social cop, it’s not the image we usually have,” explains Blank, who assures that during an intensive course with 25 Miami police officers he noticed a big change in them. “We had the opportunity to be there, and we saw how they changed their attitude on the third day, they were much more aware.”

Although he acknowledges that there are “different” things from legislation in the United States model to other protocols, “the problems are, to some extent, very similar, and most programs can be imported to Mijas, in fact we first To work with the police with people with mental health problems».

For their part, the person in charge of Afsol emphasizes the training of US police in the field of mental health. “They are the first to intervene, they are very sensitive. Continuous training should be provided so that they know how to work in this type of matter. Similarly, it emphasizes the importance of collaboration between private entities and public administration. Highlights. “Here we work in good coordination with employment programmes, special centres, flats… With this social and health support these people can lead a completely normal life.”

In this sense, Gonzalez assured that more means and resources are needed than public order. “After the pandemic has hit a very big wave, we must confirm the figure of the guardian agent in all the police in Malaga.”

The third member of the campaign in the US, coordinator of the Fuengirola-Mijas Mental Health Unit, highlights the quality of this initiative to tackle the growing problem. “The demand for mental health and problems in adolescence has increased manifold. What CIT is trying to do is create all social agents to prevent people with mental disorders from approaching the judicial system rather than the health system ».

Thus, the aim is to weave a community network towards early detection and intervention in educational centers and treatment of patients with street living disorders, all coordinated among police, unions and social services. «These are functions that are already worked out in our program ‘Konecta Salad Mental’. It’s giving us great results and we have to make it sustainable over time, that’s the way and we’ve been able to prove it in Miami.”

Thus the proposal begins its journey, with the aim of transferring it to other Andalusian cities. Mijas has been awarded several times for the ‘Agent Tutor’ program: at the Agent Tutors 2021 National Awards for Good Practices for its Mental Health Program; Award for Excellence for its School Absence Program at the 1st National Tutor Agent Awards in 2019; and the Feafes Andalucia 2020 Award for its Tutor Agent program.

Nation World News Desk
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