Amarillo PD's Crisis Negotiator Unit helps those struggling with mental illness

Amarillo PD's Crisis Negotiator Unit helps those struggling with mental illness. (ABC 7 Amarillo- File photo).

It's never easy to fully understand what someone might be going through, or what may have led an Amarillo man to a bridge, ready to jump yesterday. Two hours of negotiating is what saved his life.

"These guys were able to solve the gentleman's problem yesterday by deescalating whatever it was, and getting him to a place where he felt safe coming with us," Corporal Jeb Hilton, of Amarillo's Police Department said.

Times can be hard, but Hilton says negotiators go through a total of 80 hours of negotiator and crisis intervention training to help people understand they're never alone.

"We want them to know that they can trust us, that we're not leaving until they get the help that they need," Hilton said.

Dr. Mustafa Hussain, a psychiatrist at the Pavilion Health Care System says partnering with APD in situations like this makes for a better chance at healing someone who's suffering.

"Our Police Department, we are very proud of them that they are able to negotiate, and then they determine as to who needs immediate help," Hussain said.

Hussain says often times, suicidal thoughts or acts are a cry for help.

"We do crisis intervention, we keep them here for a few days, and then we take care of their immediate, ongoing situation," Hussain said.

Ongoing treatment, is what Hussain says is key for anyone that's mentally struggling.

"The best resolution for suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior comes from searching for answers," Hussain said.

Finding those answers, may leave someone's life better off.

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