BRT utilizes highly-targeted information, tools, and strategies to help traditional first responders (law enforcement, hospital, and emergency personnel) more effectively recognize and work with persons with mental health issues and other developmental disabilities on the job, in the community, and most importantly, in emergency situations.
“Our program teaches individuals practical tools to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation with someone with a mental illness or developmental disability,” says Stuart Haskin, Executive Director, GET SAFE. “Our goal is to prevent a negative, and sometimes deadly, outcome or altercation with someone who may be misunderstood.”
In the eight hour course, GET SAFE Crisis Intervention Instructors taught SFS personnel about mental illnesses and developmental disabilities (schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism), as well as taught techniques on how to engage with people with mental health problems.
“Our goal is to empower individuals with skills to empathize and connect with potential victims, to diminish a potentially dangerous situation, and to connect folks with mental health issues to services and programs that can help them,” says Duane Thompson, Director of Operations, GET SAFE.
The tools learned in the class were two-fold; not only will SFS personnel be able to implement their training in future engagements with suspects, but they will also be better prepared to provide support to their fellow Airmen who may be suffering from mental health issues.
At Travis AFB, various resources are made available to Airmen and their families dealing with mental illness; however, sometimes those suffering with mental illness suffer in silence.
“When people first come to this base, they don’t know anyone,” says Senior Airman David Set, 60th SFS Patrolman. “Those Airmen who don’t know anyone, text them, call them, involve them. When they go home, it’s easy to just stay there, and that can be dangerous to someone who is going through a bad time or who really shouldn’t be isolated. No matter where we find ourselves in work or in life, it should be a priority to look out for one another and help them in whatever way we can.”
“Building safer communities is what we do at our core,” says Haskin. “And we are thankful for the opportunity to change mindsets to change outcomes.”
Click here to learn more about our BRT program. Contact us for more information on any of our Community Safety programs, or to schedule a customizable GET SAFE training designed to meet the needs of each student/organization.
Click here to read the original article about our training at the Travis Air Force Base