Detroit police share mental health resources with teens

Detroit Police Department Neighborhood Police Officer Dan Robinson walks around debris while handing out gun safety information and gun locks as officers go door-to-door along Fenelon Street on Detroit's east side on Thursday, March 25, 2021.
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Detroit neighborhood Police Officer Dan Robinson says he noticed a concerning trend among kids and teens in his patrol area over the last couple of years: an increase in reports of depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts.

“Due to COVID, we’ve seen more (mental health problems) with the kids,” Robinson said. “So we wanted to figure out what we could do to get resources to them.”

Robinson says that’s why he worked with the Detroit Police Department, Chief James White and the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to organize the city’s inaugural Teen Wellness Summit. Held at four Detroit locations on Saturday, the event hosted nearly 300 tweens and teens for a day of panel discussions, motivational talks and activities designed to fortify them with the tools and resources to tackle mental health challenges head-on.

“We came up with this idea to get kids comfortable with sharing feelings,” Robinson said. “We want them to know how to identify if they’re having an issue, and what to do to cope with that issue — and same for their friends and family.”

More: Detroit teens can get help with mental health: what to know

Alexandria Payne registers Darrell Vaughn for the Detroit Public Safety & DPD teen mental health summit Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the Fort Pontchartrain in Detroit.

The event, which was held live at the Fort Pontchartrain Hotel and then livestreamed to three satellite locations, kicked off with a lively (and parent-free) group session emceed by Free Press communities and neighborhoods reporter Jasmin Barmore.

“If you’re struggling with mental challenges, typically you’re a victim of something,” Barmore said. “I just want kids to know, just like adults know, that it’s  OK to not be OK. But what’s not OK, is to not be OK  and not speak up.”

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