New training on adolescent mental health available for school resource officers


First-of-its-kind course to help school police understand, respond to mental health needs

January 22, 2018 – Hoover, Ala. – Newly developed training for school resource officers will enable them to better identify and respond to adolescent students who might have mental health needs. The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) has begun offering the first-of-its-kind Adolescent Mental Health Training for School Resource Officers (AMHT-SRO) throughout the world.

AMHT-SRO is intended to help school resource officers (SROs) and other school professionals develop the critical skills and capacity for appropriately responding to the many predictable behavior issues that are typically observed among adolescents who have mental health needs — approximately 20 percent of the student population. Among other topics, the one-and-a-half-day curriculum addresses:

  • Adolescent development.
  • Adolescent mental health needs and treatment.
  • Crisis intervention and de-escalation.
  • The SRO’s roles and responsibilities.

“The knowledge this new course provides is exceptionally important for SROs, because it will help them effectively de-escalate situations that result from behavior linked to mental health needs,” said NASRO executive director Mo Canady. “In addition, this knowledge can not only help SROs avoid unnecessary arrests, it can also help them connect affected students with appropriate resources.”

The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ) developed the course, which NCMHJJ makes available exclusively through its partnership with NASRO. NCMHJJ identified a need for the course while providing its Crisis Intervention Teams for Youth (CIT-Y) training to law enforcement officers.

NCMHJJ director Karli Keator, said, “It became clear to us that SROs wanted this training. However, CIT-Y does not sufficiently address the unique challenges or the unique opportunities these officers have because they work in the school context.”

AMHT-SRO is designed for SROs, school administrators, school security personnel, teachers and other school staff. NASRO recommends that schools send entire safety teams to the training, to help ensure that all team members receive consistent information and to provide all members an opportunity to jointly discuss any issues related to school-based policies and procedures that might arise during the course.

NASRO has already scheduled the AMHT-SRO course in two U.S. locations. Local agencies that wish to host it may contact NASRO training director Kerri Williamson at kerri.williamson@nasro.org or 1‑205‑739-6060. Individuals who wish to attend an AMHT-SRO class may find one and register on the NASRO website, www.nasro.org.

About NASRO

NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators, and school security and safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. NASRO is located in Hoover, Alabama, and it was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.

Media Contact:

Jay Farlow
Jani Spede Public Relations
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