Chief Michael P. Murphy
150 Park St.
North Reading, MA 01864
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 7, 2019
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
North Reading Police Implement Several Strategies to Address Mental Health and Wellness
NORTH READING — Chief Michael P. Murphy is pleased to announce that the North Reading Police Department has fulfilled its commitment to improving services for those suffering from mental illness in its community.
By completing the commitment it made under the One Mind pledge, the North Reading Police Department has dramatically increased its capacity for supporting the mental health needs of the residents it serves.
The One Mind Campaign pledge is an initiative spearheaded by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), a 30,000 member professional association for law enforcement that provides training, technical assistance and recruitment services.
To join the One Mind Campaign, law enforcement agencies must pledge to implement four promising practices in a 12-36 month period to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and people with mental illness. North Reading Police first took the One Mind Pledge in 2018
To do so, the North Reading Police established a sustainable partnership with Eliot Community Human Services, developed and implemented a model policy to guide officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness, and ensured that all of its officers received some type of mental health awareness training, with 40 percent of the department completing the more intensive crisis intervention training.
The 40-hour crisis intervention curriculum is designed by local agencies to train a team of specialized officers to respond to calls that involve individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression or intellectual disability. The curriculum includes education on various deescalation techniques as well as live role-play scenarios of officers responding to persons who need mental health assistance.
In addition, the North Reading Police Department has extended its commitment to those affected by mental illness by hiring a full-time mental health clinician who works in collaboration with officers on calls involving a person in crisis.
“Adopting these strategies and practices gives all of our officers a much deeper understanding of the unique challenges experienced by those living with mental illness and prepares them to best communicate with and serve those individuals,” Chief Murphy said. “I’m proud of the commitment and dedication our team showed in first adopting, and now living up to the One Mind Pledge.”
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that nearly half of Americans suffering from a disorder go untreated. Such disorders, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
For more information about the One Mind Campaign, please visit the IACP’s website: http://www.theiacp.org/onemindcampaign/. A list of all agencies who have taken the pledge is also available there. For more information about the North Reading Police Department program, please visit their website at nrpd.org.