Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy read a proclamation Tuesday recognizing September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
The intent is to help promote awareness for suicide prevention and raise awareness of resources available to those in the community. The simple goal is to learn how to help those in need and to know how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Dave Boehm and Washington Fire Chief Ed Menefee both spoke about crisis intervention training (CIT). Boehm serves as the CIT council chair.
CIT is a collaboration and community partnership between law enforcement, mental health service professionals, families with life experience and consumer advocates.
Started in Franklin County in 2011, the group serves the community’s needs, works on strategies for meeting those needs and organizes police training to help officers understand how to identify a mental health crisis.
Menefee stated that every Washington police officer is trained in crisis intervention.
CIT officers receive specialized training on the skills needed to respond to individuals with mental health issues, including identifying people who are going through a mental health crisis and effective communication skills to de-escalate the situation.
The course of instruction includes those from law enforcement and a diverse group of others, such as the division on aging, hospital officials and representatives from the Harmony House and organizations that serve those with mental health issues.