Waynesboro Receives Grant to Support Mental Health Training

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) -- Monday night, city council members in Waynesboro will be talking about a new federal grant that will help police officers get training in dealing with patients who suffer from a mental illness. This would help broaden training to ensure officers and responders are able to properly handle cases involving mental health.

The most notable case occurred in January, when state senator Creigh Deeds was stabbed by his son, Gus.

The $236,150 grant would help fund training for crisis intervention teams, and would also be shared with other area law enforcement departments, according to Sgt. Brian Edwards with the Waynesboro Police Department.

He said that about 40-45 percent of the service calls have their root in a mental health issue, and that recognition is a big factor in helping patients with a mental illness.

"Dealing with a person, and getting them up to a mental health facility or up to the hospital, emergency room, might take more time, but it's more taking care of the problem as opposed to a quick fix, 'Oh let's send them to jail, where really they're not getting any better," said Edwards.

Officers also respond to a lot of calls concerning threats to commit suicide. He suggested that maybe this grant can help officers understand the problems of mental health patients better.

The meeting starts Monday at 7 p.m.

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