More than 100 people attend Behavioral Health Safety Summit

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CATAWBA (WSLS 10) - More than 100 people in health care, law enforcement, and other agencies are attending a behavioral health safety summit at Catawba Hospital.

Organizers say mental health and violence is a big issue in our area.

"We deal with mental health on a daily basis and that would be any law enforcement agency in the Roanoke Valley," said Lt. Joe Mills with the Salem Police Department.

Mills said law enforcement needs to keep up with these issues and it's why he is at the summit learning how to react to dangerous situations involving the mentally ill.

"We're always wanting to make sure we're using best practices in dealing with folks who are suffering with mental illness or may need services," continued Mills.

Dr. Gene Diesinger, one of the speakers, has a personal connection to the topic. He was recruited as deputy chief of police and director of threat management services at Virginia Tech after the April 16 shootings.

The conference will wrap up on Thursday.