Episode 15 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.  

In this episode, learn how aligning law enforcement with the social sector can create a greater understanding of mental health and the effects of trauma, break down silos, and benefit the community. Hear from Megan Holloway, an 18-year police veteran, who works to foster collaboration through her position as a mental health liaison officer.

Holloway has trained officers and others in her community on the best ways to work with and reach individuals who are experiencing the effects of trauma or mental health challenges based on their environment and lived experiences. When police officers have this knowledge, they can better de-escalate tense situations and avoid crisis. “In day-to-day police work, it’s not any surprise that law enforcement is sort of the largest, growing group of mental health practitioners. So, there’s a large need for increased training for our officers,” said Holloway.

However, law enforcement often questions programs that go beyond standard crisis intervention training. “A lot of the things I’m doing, as a police officer look a little weird around the edges and look a little odd to my commanders who say, ‘why are you doing this, this seems like social work,’” said Holloway. And for this reason, she feels there is a needed and important opportunity for social service agencies to have a tremendous impact.

Holloway feels that building resilience among youth through community-based organizations, before a troubled connection with law enforcement begins, will significantly reduce future trouble. And at the same time, she believes stronger connections between the social sector and law enforcement are vital for teaching officers about various social disorders and what works best in dealing with people with various problems or needs. For this to happen, Holloway would like to see community-based organizations reach out to law enforcement to inform them of their expertise and to ask how they can help police understand the community better. “There’s really no handbook for these types of collaborations … don’t wait for us to come to you,” said Holloway. “We really do serve the same goal … let’s just focus on that; I think the details will follow.”

Listen as Holloway explains the benefits of partnerships between law enforcement agencies and social service organizations which promotes a better understanding of a community and its needs in Episode 15 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, and Beech Acres Parenting Center. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

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Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.