Mental Health Awareness Month

Dear Friend of LEAP,

“The first response to mental health needs is too often a law enforcement response.”

Would it surprise you to learn that many high-ranking law enforcement professionals agree with this statement? LEAP co-hosted a National Law Enforcement Summit on the Intersection of Mental Health and Public Safety in November, attended by law enforcement experts from around the country. Participants — including LEAP speakers, board, and staff — drafted a declaration stating, “The United States is in the midst of a poorly understood public health crisis,” with the mental health needs of Americans “neglected, stigmatized, or inadequately supported by health and safety systems.”

Read how the Florence PD responded when 28,000 Alabamians lost mental health care and police were expected to pick up the slack.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the perfect time to review what we learned from this convening, and to share steps you can take right now to improve mental health in your community.

      • Locate the mental health resources available in your community, and find out how to request crisis intervention services. When someone is in need, help them access these resources before the situation escalates.
      • Contact community leaders and legislators. Request that local law enforcement, attorneys, judges, school employees, and community partners receive ongoing trauma-informed and culturally-competent mental health education. Additionally, ask that local law enforcement partner with mental health clinicians and emergency medical services in training and on related calls.

        Read the full story of how reporting to the scene of a traumatic accident early in his career impacted Deputy Chief Harris’s life.
      • If you have ever experienced a mental health crisis, offer to serve on community groups with law enforcement, first responders and mental health care providers. Help develop and implement policies and practices supporting mental health.
      • Become a mentor to juveniles. Be sensitive to the needs of those who may be experiencing a mental health crisis and refuse to stigmatize anyone needing help.
      • Show compassion to law enforcement officers and first responders — they may be experiencing trauma on a daily basis, impacting their mental health and well-being. If you’re current or former law enforcement, become part of a peer support program for officers.
      • Share our document from the National Law Enforcement Summit, which recommends over 50 areas for improvement, with your local law enforcement. Encourage them to address the common concerns at the intersection of public safety and public health.
      • Donate to LEAP, to help us continue educating law enforcement agencies, legislators,
        and the public on these solutions to the mental health crisis.

    LEAP believes a better public understanding of mental health can help solve this devastating crisis impacting our health, safety, and economic well-being. Are you ready to help?

    In solidarity,

    Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
    Executive Director


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