The local mental health leader discusses coping with intense situations

SOUTH BEND, Indiana (WNDU) – It’s a story you’ll see first on 16 News Now.

A psychiatrist said the community must work together when responding to situations like the police shooting of Dante Kittrell in South Bend.

John Horsley, who has been at Oaklawn for 11 years and a clinical social worker since 2001, said he believes mental health professionals can be useful in very intense situations.

Back in July, Kittrell was shot dead by South Bend police officers after pointing what appeared to be a pistol at those officers.

Bodycam and dashcam video shows negotiators trying to de-escalate the situation for nearly 40 minutes.

City leaders said officers used deadly force as a last resort.

“I believe that a psychiatrist could certainly have guided and advised… It’s very emotional and intense. They really want to bring the best possible expertise to these situations to try and get the best possible outcome,” Horsley said.

South Bend Police say the de-escalation training is very effective and officers did everything they could to get everyone home safely that day.

“I believe this has created some awareness of how intense these situations can be and we have been aggressively trying to figure out what additional training is needed…our mobile crisis team is well-trained in intervention, well-trained in assessment…have.” they get special training if someone has a gun and there’s a standoff with the police? no! But the training they have is useful in situations like this and if we need to respond together with law enforcement, we certainly will,” Horsley said.

Horsley said mental health crisis teams are essential, which is why Oaklawn is currently building its mobile crisis unit.

“I thought it was sensible and sensible going forward that at least one member of the community crisis team, if not the crisis team, be linked to the community mental health center so that we have a seamless entry into aftercare services, and there is one Support for those in crisis after the crisis happened… Our community needs to work hard to work together and make sure we have a great crisis system,” Horsley said.

Horsley said Oaklawn has already set aside funds to continue building their mobile crisis unit.

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