Rochester Police Department Sees Increase in Crisis Calls

This article was originally written and published by Darian Leddy of KTTC. 

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – March is self-harm awareness month. According to the CDC, more than 12 million people seriously thought about suicide in 2020.

In Rochester, the number of crisis calls to Rochester Police Department increased by 8 percent from 2021 to 2022.

Area crisis centers say people now seek help for a variety of reasons.

“The main reasons people are accessing services is that increase in depression as well as suicidal thoughts,” Southeast Regional Crisis Center (SERCC) executive director Nicole Mucheck said.

“A lot of them can unfortunately be financially related,” RPD Lt. Ryan Lodermeier said. “Persons that have recently lost their job or are going through some hardships. A lot of them can revolve around relationships,”

Law enforcement officials are often some of the first people to come into contact with a person in crisis.

“A very important part of helping persons that are going through crisis is that continued follow up,” Lt. Lodermeier said. Our social workers through Olmsted County as well as other members here with law enforcement.”

Working alongside RPD are Olmsted County Community Outreach Specialists, a team of social workers who then connect people with mental health facilities.

“We work with our local community response team and help make connects with stabilization,” Mucheck said

Mucheck says the goal of a crisis center is to help stabilize the patients’ mental state, but also other parts of their life.

“We know things such as financial stability, housing stability, food insecurity all goes into the stressor that could affect someone’s mental health,” Mucheck said

Mucheck says the SERCC has enough space and staff to manage the influx, but the job can’t get done unless these two organizations work together with several other community resource organizations.

RPD is working to train its entire force on crisis intervention.

“We want to make sure that we’re constantly refreshing the tools that we have in our pocket to help these people,” Lt. Lodermeier said. “Truly listening to what the root cause, if we can get to that, of their crisis is a big step in getting the help that they want.”

The SERCC is open 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s located at 2121 Campus Drive SE in Rochester, near the Federal Medical Center and walk ins are welcome.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call 988. That’s the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.