MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — According to the CDC, 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental health illness in a given year. Officers with the Mission Police Department are gaining new resources to raise awareness about these illnesses.
“Prioritizing mental health is of course critical for each and every one of us,” City of Mission media relations director Roxanne Lerma said.
Depression, fear, social withdrawal, to even a change of behavior are all signs of mental illness.
Mission Police Chief Cesar Torres says there has been an increase in cases and this is something that can affect anyone.
“We have lost many to mental health suicides, they’re on the rise we’ve seen it through friends family members citizens so we have to work on this together,” Chief Cesar Torres said.
City leaders came together to join the police department to unveil their newest unit which is designed to educate the community.
Back in September, congressman Henry Cuellar announced the Mission Police Department was awarded over $200,000 in funding for mental health resources.
This will go towards the expansion of their arrest diversion program and additional mental health officers.
“The mental health unit is dispatched to be able to talk to the individual to counsel and provide support and basically help them with the situation they’re dealing with,” city manager with the City of Mission Randy Perez said.
The initiative is partnered with tropical behavioral health and officers say around the holiday season is when they see more cases of mental illnesses.
“People may not be with their loved ones so that’s when we start seeing depression starts having some issues arise, it’s usually during the holidays, so we’re aware of that and we’re sending units,” Public Information Police officer with the Mission Police Department Arturo Flores said.
Officers say help is available.
“We’re here to support our mental health people that have issues also substance abuse we’re out there,” Flores said.