Established in Albuquerque in 2003, Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live. This model is being applied to Albuquerque’s approach to Downtown Public Safety with promising results. The ECHO model doesn’t actually “provide” care directly to people. Rather, it provides a venue in which front-line law enforcement personnel and service providers can educate each other, broaden their skills and provide mutual support needed to manage difficult interactions with people in crisis.

Each Thursday afternoon, a group of Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire Department officers, healthcare providers, social workers, and other stakeholders in the downtown community convene to hear from experts and discuss topics related to downtown public safety. Examples of topics covered at these weekly sessions include how to recognize and respond to people suffering from psychosis, how to respond to children in crisis, identifying states of intoxication or withdrawal in the field, and more.

On July 18, Heading Home’s own Megan Brown was the expert presenter on Suicide Intervention. Those in attendance learned about recent trends in suicide (60% increase since 1976), how to recognize and assess risk factors and how to respond effectively in order to support those in crisis. Megan’s thoughtful approach to discussing this difficult subject was particularly impressive. She encouraged responders to approach those in crisis with empathy while engaging in active listening. Our community is fortunate to have outreach navigators like Megan who provide invaluable support to clients and educate our community members!

Click here to view the slides from Megan’s presentation. This subject can be a difficult one to understand and contemplate, so be sure to set aside time for extra self care.