Dr. Torrey from the Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, VA stated in an article in the New York Times that police officers have become “the first line of contact” for individuals with mental illness. Law enforcement agencies across the country are seeing increases in the number of contacts between individuals with a mental health disorder and police. Today, more than 90,000 inmates with serious mental illness await a psychiatric hospital bed and 10 times more individuals with serious mental illness are residing in state prisons and county jails today than in the nation’s remaining state mental hospitals, according to a new study from the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs' Association. As a police officer, you are trained to react to how people respond when you approach or interact with them. However, particularly when you are approaching and interacting with people who may have a mental health disorder, it is important for you to be proactive in your response. When you are proactive rather than reactive, you can avoid escalating the situation and are more likely to have a positive outcome. This course highlights the verbal, environmental, and behavioral cues that can help you quickly assess whether you may be dealing with an individual with a mental health disorder. In addition, you will learn about tactical response strategies you can use to safely respond and resolve situations involving individuals with a mental health disorder. Information provided is broad-based and should always be considered in relation to your agency’s policies and procedures. DSM™ and DSM-5™ are registered trademarks of the American Psychiatric Association. The American Psychiatric Association is not affiliated with nor endorses this course.