Police Untrained to Handle People Suffering From Mental Health Issues

Police officers in the United States are woefully untrained to approach individuals with behavioral health issues, according to a new analysis from Washington Post. In the first 6 months of 2015, police have shot and killed 123 people in the throes of mental or emotional crisis.

Police officers in the United States are woefully untrained to approach individuals with behavioral health issues, according to a new analysis from Washington Post. In the first 6 months of 2015, police have shot and killed 123 people in the throes of mental or emotional crisis, which accounts for a quarter of the people shot to death by police year to date.

The 123 killings in which the Post identified in which mental health appeared to play a role only included instances where a person expressed suicidal intentions or because police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness, which may understate the scope of the problem.

There were important distinctions between the overall population of police shooting victims and those with mental health issues: they were more likely to be wielding a weapon less lethal than a firearm; 6 had toy guns; and 3 in 10 carried a blade, which rarely proves deadly to police.

In 45 instances, the police were called to help someone get medical treatment or after the individual had tried and failed to get treatment, according to the Post.

Read more from Washington Post: http://wapo.st/1duFWAl