As mental health calls to police and social service groups increase, law enforcement agencies are investing in extra training to help officers untangle situations ranging from erratic behavior to drug overdoses to suicide attempts, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The paper said some counties have seen mental health 911 calls, including suicides and attempts, increase by more than 25 percent in the past two years. There’s no clear explanation for the increase, but theories include unemployment and financial stress, the struggles of returning military veterans and lack of access to mental health services.
Jon Roesler, a state Health Department epidemiology supervisor, said greater access to powerful anti-depressants and painkillers may contribute to higher suicide rates and more drug overdose calls. Other sources said social changes may be a factor, including the isolation of technology, where families are communicating electronically rather than face to face.