The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for its Mental Health Stigma Awareness Campaign by the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation.
Currently, through a grant provided by the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has designed and implemented a three-pronged campaign to provide education to jail staff, inmates, and family members to help address mental health.
The campaign components focus on the following: Certification of three detention officers as Mental Health First Aid Instructors, who in turn have trained 234 detention personnel over the past 17 months.
The staff has been outfitted with light blue shirts for quick identification in the Detention System’s Special Needs Section. Lastly, the addition of a Mental Health Crisis Line as an additional source of communication for inmates within the jails.
Sheriff Richard D. Wiles, Chair for the Justice Leadership Council of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, stated that a current Sheriff’s Office goal is not only to continue providing appropriate mental health services to inmates but also “to ensure members of the public with needs throughout the mental health spectrum have access to appropriate community services to prevent them from interacting and potentially entering the criminal justice system in the first place.”
Sheriff’s Office staff is also assisting individuals being released from the detention system with “keeping it together” wallet cards providing individuals with a listing of community resources they might require upon community reentry.
The card has had a great success subsequently being adopted by the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division.