Increase in mental health calls could be a sign of fading stigma

In the past few years, the Lincoln Police Department has seen an increase in mental health calls.

This increase in calls could be a sign that the stigma surrounding mental health is fading.

Captain Danny Reitan says that the LPD is on pace for around 3,000 mental health service calls this calender year.

These calls have been steadily rising over the past few years.

The LPD wants to take the stigma off of mental health while keeping in mind how it affects so many of us.

"You wouldn’t approach someone with cancer in a hard handed way. Why would you approach someone with a mental health diagnoses in a hard handed way. It’s a medical condition," said Reitan.

Police training has adjusted to increasingly deal with recognizing behavioral patterns that could be a result of mental health illnesses.

Recruit officers get an entire day of mental health training in the police academy.

Veteran officers can take more extensive courses, which include meeting with peers who have had interactions with people who have had mental health issues in the past.

Dr. Dave Miers of Bryan Medical thinks that the increase of mental health calls is a positive sign due to years of mental health education.

"That can be seen as a positive thing that individuals are willing to reach out and ask for help… That we are seeing the stigma decrease and people are reaching out saying, hey, I need some help can you assist me? Can you point me in the right direction," said Miers.

Nationally, mental illness continues to affect one in four Americans. 

Lincoln is fortunate to have so many resources to lean on in a mental health crises.

Bryan Medical Center has one of the nations few dedicated mental health emergency departments.

The mental health emergency room, which began serving people in the 1990s, is now being offered 24/7.

"Reach out… if you have to call us… call us… we’re here to listen…. we’re here to help… we don’t want harm to come to somebody," said Reitan.

If you are struggling and in need of help, the Bryan West Campus emergency mental health department is located at 2300 S. 16th street.

For non-emergency mental health care, contact the Bryan Counseling Center at 402-481-5991.