Police ramping up efforts to curb domestic violence, mental health issues amid COVID-19 changes

Growing tensions over job loss and isolation measures are forcing police and paramedics to be prepared for an uptick in domestic violence and mental health calls.

As a result, police departments are ramping up their efforts. Minneapolis Police is one of them. They say they are already seeing a rise in calls related to domestic abuse issues and we are only heading into the second week of this new normal.

Police want people to realize there are plenty of options to reach out for help.

“People are facing major changes in their life,” said MPD spokesperson John Elder. “This adds to a heightened stress level.”

Elder wants residents to know they have outlets in these times of crisis.

First responders are fully prepared to deal with a rise in domestic violence and suicidal calls as people face job loss, staying indoors and an uncertain future.

“Being quarantined with people you may not be used to seeing 24 hours a day can add to the stress even in the best of relationships,” Elder said. “We want people to understand and realize what they are experiencing is normal.”

Last year, Minneapolis Police responded to a sharp increase in domestic abuse-related calls and, with this unprecedented societal change to combat COVID-19, professionals are anticipating an influx of desperation from community members.

“They are able to call any hospital and if that hospital doesn’t have a hotline, they can certainly refer you somewhere where you can get help,” Elder added.

“I think also being able to connect with people, that is crucial in this time,” said Jeff Schewe, a family therapist.

While you might not be able to maintain that appropriate social distancing during a traditional meeting with a therapist, there are certainly other creative ways to get counseling when needed.

Schewe says, even in the strongest relationships, these new measures to stay home can be challenging.

“Relieve some of the expectations that we are putting on our spouses that are not fair, not just and not necessarily productive at this time,” he said.

Any call you make, whether to police, a hospital or any type of counseling hotline is anonymous. Professionals want you to understand you’re not alone. Many of us are feeling stressed an anxious right now.