Mental Health Awareness Month

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Newsletter from Sheriff Nocco

May was Mental Health Awareness Month, but the Pasco Sheriff’s Office responds to calls relating to mental health or substance abuse each day. In 2019, PSO announced the formation of the Behavioral Health Intervention Team to help mitigate these calls and help citizens take steps in recovery or treatment.

Originally setting out to work with citizens in Pasco with multiple calls for service relating to mental health, such as Baker Acts, the goal for BHIT is to build meaningful relationships with their clients and ultimately help those clients change their lives for the better. BHIT detectives find that some people have lost faith in the systems that can help them or simply don’t know where to turn. Building those relationships over time can help amend some of those issues.

The team, which is comprised of a captain, two sergeants, 12 detectives, two Animal Assisted Therapy K9s and an analyst, has expanded its purview since its inception. They now cover additional types of work, such as reaching out to homeless citizens to connect them with services, such as work placement or housing services. Furthermore, BHIT detectives meet with those who recently overdosed. Detectives want to use that momentous event in a person’s life as a turning point and link them with programs that may help them work through their addictions.

One in five Americans experience a mental illness and nearly one in 25 adults live with a severe mental illness. With COVID-19 at top of mind, mental health-related calls for service have been on the rise in Pasco. It’s imperative to find ways to cope with stress. BHIT detectives have gathered a list of coping strategies to employ during this arduous time.

  • Limit your time watching the news or reading about the pandemic. Take in small doses to stay informed, but not overwhelm yourself with news.
  • Take care of your body: take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, eat healthy and well-balanced meals, exercise, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and never take drugs.
  • Make time to unwind: find something you enjoy such as a craft, reading, or spending time with pets.
  • Get outside and enjoy fresh air while maintaining your physical distance.
  • Stay in touch with friends and loved ones. Calling, texting or video chatting are all helpful tools to stay connected.

For additional mental health resources, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness at nami.org.

If you, a friend, or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or suicidal thoughts, please contact these resources:

– Substance Abuse: 1-800-662-HELP
– Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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