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WMed hosts behavioral health crisis training drills for emergency responders

WMed hosts behavioral health crisis training drills for emergency responders. (WWMT/Matt Loughrin)

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed) hosted Michigan Crisis Intervention System (MI-CIS) on Tuesday.

The role-playing exercise played out on the campus of Kalamazoo Valley Community College and it included EMT s, health officials, and local police officers.

The School of Medicine received a $500,000 grant in 2016 by Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

The drill led by Todd Christensen was centered around deescalating a behavioral health crisis at a moment’s notice.

“What is unique about MI-CIS training is it integrates all these different aspects from the time someone calls 911 and all the professions in between, leading all the way to jail or hospital, or mental health intake treatment location,” Christensen said.

One scenario involved a man with a mental health illness armed with knife and threatening harm. Police officers were walked through the steps necessary to mitigate the situation without using deadly force.

Christensen said, “We are training our responders to respond and not react to a situation.”

Jonathan Brandt who attended the training exercises said he was there to get an up-close look at the training offered to police and first responders.

“I have personal experience with both dealing with mental disorder as someone with bipolar and anxiety, psychosis from time to time,” Brandt said.

Brandt said he is pleased to see WMU tackling behavioral health crisis’.

He said, “It’s really a relief to know that I don’t have to worry as much about excessive force or anything like that from a law enforcement person who doesn’t quite understand or have experience with someone who is struggling.”

The event was completely free. For more information about MI-CIS training please contact MI-CIS Project Manager Todd Christensen at robert.christensen@med.wmich.edu.

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