Event Will Look at Crisis Intervention

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

Mental health experts along with patients and their families will share their experiences Saturday at a symposium organized in response to the fatal shootings of two mentally ill men by Eugene police last year.

The daylong event is aimed at Lane County emergency responders likely to encounter people experiencing mental health crises, organizer Sue Archbald said.

So far, about 25 people have signed up for the event, which is hosted by ASSERT - Approved Steps to Strengthen Emergency Responder Training - a group formed after the Nov. 14 shooting of 19-year-old Churchill High School graduate Ryan Salisbury.

Archbald and Eugene resident Graham Lewis started ASSERT to raise money to enhance training programs for emergency responders, including police.

So far, the organization has raised more than $7,200, some of which is paying for Saturday's event.

"We're hoping that this will perhaps save a life or provide some insight to people" who deal with those in crisis, Archbald said. "We're hoping the community will see that something is being done that is constructive."

The symposium, which is free to participants, will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Campbell Community Center, 155 High St., in Eugene. Space is limited to emergency responders and people who work with vulnerable populations.

The event is loosely based on the crisis intervention model developed by police in Memphis and adopted at agencies across the country. In that plan, specially selected officers receive training from mental health experts to deal with potentially violent crisis situations.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office uses a similar approach, Archbald said. She recently participated in that agency's 40-hour crisis intervention training and will present some of the principles she learned there at Saturday's event.

Other experts will discuss conditions that can lead to a mental health crisis and what interventions might be helpful. …