Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
COIN to Host Mental Health Training for First Responders
PEPPERELL – Police Chief David Scott is pleased to report that police officers from 10 area communities will undergo specialized training on how to respond to mental health emergencies and how to better serve members of their communities suffering from mental illness through the new Northwest Middlesex County Community Outreach Initiative Network (COIN).
Police departments in Pepperell, Ashby, Townsend, Groton, Shirley, Ayer, Boxborough, Dunstable, Westford and Littleton recently began collaborating to form COIN. The group of police departments has hired a mental health clinician, funded by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, to work within all 10 police department to help conduct follow-up calls to connect citizens with private resources.
The day-long training will be held on three different dates this year: Oct. 6, Oct. 13 and Dec. 1. The course, provided free of charge by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is open to all first responders and police officers in COIN communities. Teenage Anxiety and Depression Solutions (TADS) will also participate in the training.
“Our officers respond to calls for issues involving substance use and mental health disorders on a regular basis,” Chief Scott said. “Our towns’ patrol officers are the ones who often come in contact with these individuals, and we are now training them to better recognize those in need. Our goals is to have our patrol forces identify individuals in need and then have our clinician be the link to the treatment that can help our residents.”
The Northwest Middlesex County Community Outreach Initiative Network (COIN) is a collaboration between 10 area police departments – Pepperell, Ashby, Townsend, Groton, Shirley, Ayer, Boxborough, Dunstable, Westford and Littleton – committed to addressing mental health issues and substance abuse disorders in their communities. Utilizing a civilian mental health clinician, COIN departments can identify residents who may benefit from more specialized care. In addition, first responders will be better equipped to handle emergency situations in which a victim may suffer from a mental illness.
Teenage Anxiety and Depression Solutions is a Groton-based nonprofit organization that focuses on mental health issues, especially with regards to helping parents who have children with mental health needs. TADS was formed in 2011 by Steve and Deb Boczenowski as a response to losing their son, Jeffrey, to suicide. TADS’ mission is to address this critically important issue by raising awareness, providing education and enabling access to care. TADS is pleased to support the COIN Collaborative.