Patrol Officer Timothy Stephenson joined the Brookline Police Department in 1996. Officer Stephenson serves on the department’s Crisis Intervention Team.
This past June, Officer Stephenson responded to a 911 call reporting that a man was on the roof of a psychiatric hospital and threatening to jump. Three other Brookline police officers had secured the scene and tried to engage the individual in conversation to no avail. It was a tenuous and tension-filled situation. Officer Stephenson credits the de-escalation techniques he learned in the weeklong Crisis intervention training (CIT) that he received as a Brookline Police Officer with his ability to negotiate the situation.
He gained access to the roof and introduced himself in a gentle voice. Recognizing that being approached by a police officer is often frightening for someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, Officer Stephenson asked permission to come closer and speak with him. Through his calm, quiet, reassuring manner Officer Stephenson was able to convince the individual to step away from the roof’s edge and to come with him back into the hospital. He then spent an additional forty-five minutes talking and helping him to reach out to his family.
Officer Stephenson’s story and his commitment to ensuring people with behavioral health challenges live safe and healthy lives in the community exemplify the importance of NAMI Mass’ five-year-old Criminal Justice Diversion Project (CJDP). You can show your appreciation of Officer Stephenson and the education he received because of NAMI Mass’ partnerships with police departments by donating to NAMI Mass’ Make a Difference Fund. A gift to NAMI Mass goes to work locally in the communities where you live and work.
CJDP is now working assiduously to get police departments in all 351 towns and cities trained in CIT and to divert individuals with a mental illness from incarceration. NAMI MASS is also working with legislators to change public policy. Your support has enabled us to:
I became the new Executive Director of NAMI Mass because I care deeply about its mission, values, and vision. I am excited to be a part of this organization and to join you in your efforts to ensure that everyone in this Commonwealth living with a mental health condition can receive quality services, stigma-free.
At this time of giving, please contribute as generously as possible so that we can multiply stories such as Officer Stephenson’s and maintain our educational and support programs and advocacy on significant mental health issues for all of you: our donors, friends, and members. NAMI Mass is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Thank you and have a healthy, joyful and peaceful holiday season.
President, NAMI Mass Board of Directors