AFD Trains in Mental Illness Crisis Intervention

Albuquerque Fire Department trains in Mental Illness Crisis Intervention Albuquerque, N.M.- Albuquerque’s first responders are training to effectively assist patients who are suffering from mental illness in an important crisis intervention training. AFD’s entire staff and the 87th Cadet Class will complete the training by the end of November. The Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) stems from the recommendation made by Mayor Richard J. Berry’s Creating Community Solutions meetings that started in 2013. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Public Safety Psychology Group provided the CIT training so AFD responders can better understand mental and behavioral health to improve communication skills during specific emergency responses.

“The men and women of the Albuquerque Fire Department are on the front lines each day handling calls for service – many of which responding to crisis mental health situations,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “This is why we made Crisis Intervention Training a priority- to equip them with the tools they need to handle crisis situations in a way that protects the safety of all involved.”

“It’s important for our first responders to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, thereby enabling more effective communications, so we can do our best to meet their needs and provide the most effective treatment,” said Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey. Mental illness affects nearly all American families, and addressing this issue is vital to promoting the health of our communities. To lift the silence and raise awareness about mental health, President Obama called for an honest, national conversation about mental health.

Albuquerque answered the call and was one of the first of many cities across the country to initiate a conversation on mental health. On July 20, 2013, Mayor Richard J. Berry hosted the launch of a Greater Albuquerque dialogue on mental health, called Creating Community Solutions – Albuquerque. About the Albuquerque Fire Department AFD serves New Mexico’s largest city with professional firefighters, who are licensed EMTs and Paramedics. The department responds to more than 80,000 calls for service annually with fifty-seven frontline emergency response apparatus. In addition to fire suppression and emergency medical services, AFD also has special response teams that provide technical rescue, hazardous materials response, and wildland firefighting.

Melissa B. Romero Public Information Officer

Albuquerque Fire Department

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