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Overland Park Police Department hosts mental health symposium

Posted at 12:09 PM, Nov 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-16 18:33:26-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Overland Park Police Department wants residents to know there is help for those trying to manage mental health issues.

"At every shift, we have some call related to a mental health component," Officer Justin Shephard said.

The department provides resources to the community through its crisis intervention team.

On Saturday, the team taught people how they train, from how they deescalate a situation to long-term help for someone who has a mental illness.

"We like the idea of it being a set of tools that they use in their tool belt," Shepherd said. "Be able to identify the situation that they are walking into and be better prepared to handle the situation that is handed to you, or provide resources and help after the fact."

One person who came to learn is Sara Purcell. She is a nurse at a local school district and sees children on a daily basis who have anxiety. Purcell said she needs an extra tool in her tool box to help those children.

"They just need time to talk it out and get out of the classroom," Purcell said. "Get out for a minute to decompress and sometimes it's stressful."

She said she hopes her attendance first will help end the stigma.

"It's so common," Purcell said, "and it's not an abnormal thing."

She also wants her students to know they are not alone in their fight.

"Anything I can learn is just more in the bucket I can use," she said.