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Bay County Sheriff’s Office trains staff in mental health first aid

Big Bend Community Based Care is conducting classes in mental health first aid throughout the Panhandle.
Big Bend Community Based Care is conducting classes in mental health first aid throughout the Panhandle.(WJHG)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - With all the traumatic events happening throughout the world and locally, stress and mental health seems to be taking their toll on communities.

Big Bend Community Based Care is conducting classes in mental health first aid throughout the Panhandle. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is taking the opportunity to train its staff to deal with people who display signs of a mental health crisis or behavioral challenges. Administrative personnel are attending the eight hour course dealing with the challenges of properly confronting those people in a way that ultimately de-escalates the severity of the situation.

“It’s OK to talk to people about their mental health and when they are approaching anyone in the community or someone in the community approaches them, and it does appear that they may be having a mental health crisis," Crystal Gery, a recovery specialist for Big Bend Community Based Care, said. "We’re teaching them the things to say and the ways to interact with them but also making sure that everyone maintains their safety. The person that’s being spoken to and the person that’s possibly dealing with a mental health crisis.”

Law enforcement personnel in the sheriff’s office get regular training on the same procedures. However, their course is a more intense 40 hour-long course.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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