As mental health services fall victim to budget cuts in communities across the country, families are turning to law enforcement as their only hope for support in a crisis.

With fewer beds in psychiatric hospitals and reduced outpatient services, police departments are increasingly dealing with those experiencing mental health problems. That’s because when the police are called they have to do something, advocates say, whereas other service providers can simply turn patients away when they are full or when individuals do not have the means to pay.

In many cases police officers are better trained than ever to deal with individuals with mental illness. Several departments have crisis intervention teams specifically taught to identify signs of mental illness and work with treatment providers.

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Nonetheless, the influx of calls to police from those in crisis — which are up as much as 50 percent in some regions — is proving taxing, especially in rural areas with limited resources, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.