The importance of understanding mental illness is mainly down to the fact that this is the most effective way of battling stigma towards those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. It is also important due to the commonality of mental illness. Aaron Hernandez’s suicide spiked the importance of understanding mental illness. Media reported that Mental Health First Aid is a critical part of an effective criminal justice system, not just for patrol officers, but for officers interacting with inmates with mental health challenges. CNN highlighted the places around the country that are using training like Mental Health First Aid to stem the tide of tragedies like this. Interestingly, Massachusetts does not have any DOC staff trained in Mental Health First Aid. For more information click here.
How prisons keep their suicidal inmates on watch