Student mental health is a constant concern on college campuses.
It is not uncommon for people in need to call 9-1-1. A police officer may be the first person to interact with someone who needs special attention.
To assess and appropriately handle such situations, all Georgia Southern officers received Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) provided by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in partnership with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. have completed National Coalition on Mental Illness. This training ensures that people with mental illness and other brain disorders receive treatment, in most cases, instead of being imprisoned.
In addition to that training, the University of Georgia System offers two additional programs for law enforcement officers.
- QPR Suicide Prevention Training – QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer, three simple steps anyone can learn to save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of suicide risk and how to ask someone Learn how to persuade and ask for help.
- Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training – MHFA is a skills-based training course that teaches people how to identify, understand, and respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. Helps police officers recognize and address mental health issues and mental health disorders.
To date, approximately 30 police officers at Georgia Southern University have completed three different training programs, and each has been awarded a mental health initiative pin.
Georgia Southern Police Chief Laura McCullough said: “I am very proud of these officers and they have taken the time to better prepare them to handle any situation they may encounter. “The pins they’re wearing now are a symbol of the care they’re investing in our community.”
State and university officials applauded the officer’s achievements.
Jodi Caldwell, Director of Georgia Southerns Counseling Center, said: “Law enforcement personnel are becoming first responders to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies. It’s no surprise that we’re leading the way in Georgia because of our interest and willingness to be trained to recognize and respond to individuals with mental health problems.”
Caldwell presented the pin at a ceremony last month and spoke to honor the officers.Also Alexis Belvin, president of SGA for Georgia Southern, and former system project director for the University System of Georgia (USG) Mental Health Initiative. Chip Reese, Ed.D. was also present.
“The USG Mental Health Initiative was launched during COVID to deliberately focus more on the needs of our students,” Reese said. “We have expanded clinical counseling services and supported mental health and wellness resources and programs statewide. I hope the officers who are already trained will be better equipped to be the first officers to call whenever they need to.”
The following officers have been awarded Mental Health Initiative Pins:
Tim Alderman, Josh Barker, Richard Bashler, Charles Bowen, Ian Craig, Lawrence Croy, Stephen Kushner, Sam Darr, Kristin Doyle, Baillie Deichess, Jonathan Finley, Danny Garrigus, Kenneth Glover, Clay Gracen, Sarah Gray, Ranye Griswold, Patrick Holloway, Tyrone McBride, Chris McBride, Elk McCurdy, BJ McKellar, Alex Morris, Todd Olsen, Kurt Party, Dexter – Renfro, Eric Riner, Lamar Stevens, Crystal Thomas.