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Scenario Based Mental Health and De-escalation Training


Content Provider:
Pro-Training Mental Health Awareness


Length (in hours)
1.5 hours

Release Date
August 2016

Revision Date
December 2020

Registration Process Register

Police and protective service officers often find themselves in situations where they are responding to an individual who is, or appears to be, mentally ill. These interactions often lack understanding between both parties, making it more challenging to produce positive outcomes.

Created by ProTrainingScenario Based Mental Health and De-escalation Training is an award winning course designed to help officers refresh skills in the areas of expressed empathy, effective verbal and non-verbal communication, and de-escalation in order to improve the quality and safety of interactions with individuals who have, or may have, mental health issues. Using interactive scenarios and ‘lived experiences’, this course engages learners at critical decision points to demonstrate how responses and behaviours can defuse an interaction, improve a subject’s cooperation, and decrease the need for force.

This course is the first Unit in a three Unit mental health training system, created from evidence based research conducted over a 5 year period at the University of Alberta. See for more information about Unit 2 (Hands-on Scenario Based Role-Play) and Unit 3 (Advanced Mental Health Crisis Negotiation). 

Learning Objectives

When you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate de-escalation strategies that focus on defusing the situation in a mental health crisis
  • Demonstrate non-escalation strategies to prevent situations from becoming escalated
  • Demonstrate optimal verbal communication techniques that emphasize active communication
  • Demonstrate optimal non-verbal communication techniques that focus on proper body language
  • Demonstrate empathy, recognizing emotions others are feeling, and responding appropriately to quickly establish trust
  • Demonstrate essential skills to interact with subjects who are threatening, uncooperative or unresponsive to decrease the need for force
  • Demonstrate strategies for responding to specific mental health behaviours
  • Demonstrate strategies for follow up, and prevention of re-occurrence


Target Audience

Sworn Police, Police Services, Student, Government and Other First Responders, Private Security

Content Provider

This course was designed and developed by ProTraining - Mental Health Awareness in collaboration with an International Advisory Board of police officers, police educators, mental health professionals, academic researchers, adult educators, eLearning experts and individuals with lived experiences of mental illness from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.