APD helps break down mental illness stigma - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

APD helps break down mental illness stigma

The decal symbolizes the 'elephant in the room' (APD image) The decal symbolizes the 'elephant in the room' (APD image)
APD Chief Persley (WALB image) APD Chief Persley (WALB image)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Albany Police Department is working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to talk about the 'elephant in the room,' and that is mental health.

They are using elephant emblems to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.

Mental illness affects about one in five, and that suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 and the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. Officials say that 90% of those who die by suicide probably have a mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed.

"We have to be willing to talk about these topics in order to promote recovery and prevent suicide," says Tosha Dean, President of NAMI Albany.

NAMI Vice-President Jere Brands says, "The elephant stickers open up a discussion about mental illness and suicide, both 'elephants in the room': obvious problems nobody wants to discuss or recognize."

Earlier this year, Albany Police Chief Michael Persley was awarded for his commitment to have 80% of the Albany Police Department go through Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training so that officers and civilian staff would be equipped with the tools they need to interact professionally with individuals in a mental crisis. 

NAMI Albany offers free support and education for adults living with a mental illness and for their family and friends.

For more information E-MAIL or call 229-239-1444.

Help is available 24 hours a day every day on the Georgia Crisis and Access Line: 1- 800-715-4225.

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