Soon, Denver Employees Can Offer ‘Mental Health First Aid’

Photo: Don Mares (Courtesy)

A new grant allows Denver to train its employees to spot people with mental health issues. They call it “mental health first aid.”

In the most extreme circumstances, the city hopes that this will help prevent shootings and other serious crimes.

Don Mares, executive director of Denver’s Department of Human Services, explained how the project will work.

Why does the city think it can help with mental health?

"So many city employees touch the general population and could play a role in spotting issues and pointing people in the right direction. We solicited the cooperation and involvement of the Denver Public Libraries, of Parks and Recreation -- what you might consider the not usual suspects.

"[People who] could be trained enough to say, at the rec center, you know hey Mr. Smith, it appears that you're having some issues. It's kinda like CPR -- do that kind of intervention that would then maybe point Mr. Smith the right direction to get some needed help."