United Way of Northern New Mexico

Home » Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) » United Way of Northern New Mexico Hosts Mental Health First Aid Training for Public Safety 

United Way of Northern New Mexico Hosts Mental Health First Aid Training for Public Safety 

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​As a part of the United Way of Northern New Mexico’s Behavioral Health(y) Community
Initiative, United Way of Northern New Mexico hosted a training, facilitated New
Mexico State Police Sergeant​ Kiersten Harzewski for local law enforcement and public
safety officials.  “United Way continues to look for ways to help our communities by
providing services and resources pertaining to mental and behavioral health,” said
Kristy Ortega, Executive Director of United Way of Northern New Mexico.  “Our hope is
to do 1-2 of these training’s per year for those who serve in Los Alamos and Rio Arriba
Counties,”; Ortega said.
Sergeant Harzewski has been in Law Enforcement for 23 years and is currently a
member of the State Police Crisis Negotiation Team.  “I’m interested in helping officers
understand how to hand people with Mental Health Concerns,” said Harzewski.
Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety is an eight-hour course specially designed for
police officers, first responders, corrections officers and other public safety
professionals, helping them better understand mental illnesses and addictions and
providing them with effective response options to deescalate incidents without
compromising safety. – nationalcouncil.org

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“Mental Health First Aid is a necessary component for modern day law enforcement,”
said Cpl. Robert Stephens, who is the current School Resource Officer at Los Alamos
Middle School.   Along those same lines, participant Detective Matt Lyon (Los Alamos
Police Department) stated, “Mental Health First Aid is a must for law enforcement in
today’s society.”
Also in attendance was Animal Control officer Debra Kramer.  “It helps us be more
understanding to what others are going through and why.”  She was particularly
interested in this course and how it applies to folks who have pets in our community.
“This course will make it easier for departments to get their first responders trained in
Mental Health and Crisis Awareness, and how to effectively managed both,”said
Corporal James Keane, LAPD.

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For more information on this course and the United Way of Northern New Mexico
Behavioral Health(y) Community Initiative, please contact Kristy Ortega at
kristy@unitedwaynnm.org or visit us on the web at http://www.unitedwaynnm.org


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