Mass. departments get mental health training grants
By Tiffany Chan
BOSTON — Two Western Massachusetts police departments have received grants to better educate officers on mental illness – an effort that mental health advocates say will create a jail diversion.
Westfield and Holyoke Police Departments have signed onto receiving “Crisis Intervention” training. The program teaches police officers how to handle a person with mental illness and how to de-escalate situations so that arrests may be avoided. The program is offered by the National Alliance on Mental Health and they believe the training will allow the police to better assist people with mental illnesses.
The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health provided an $80,000 grant for police departments to receive the Crisis Intervention training.