Marketplace of Ideas 2022 / Event programme / Thematic session #3


Thematic session #3 | Law enforcement and mental health

7am Los Angeles/10am New York/3pm London/5pm Nairobi/9pm Bangkok/midnight Sydney

This session on Law Enforcement and Mental Health highlights innovative programmes from around the globe. Please join us for four exciting presentations and conversation about the intersection of law enforcement and mental health:

  • Human-centered Engagement and Liaison Partnership (Alberta, Canada) – Delivering care instead of jail for vulnerable community members
  • RedTraSex (Latin America and the Caribbean) – Prioritizing the mental health of sex workers through a supportive multi-national network
  • Green String Network (Nairobi, Kenya) – A culturally-sensitive and trauma-informed approach to policing and peacebuilding

Session duration: 90 minutes

The GLEPHA Law Enforcement and Mental Health Special Interest Group aims to:

1) improve the outcomes of law enforcement responses to situations involving people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis in the community, and;

2) align health care resources to reduce the role of law enforcement in responding to mental health situations.


Elliot Pinsly

Elliot Pinsly serves as Chief Executive Officer for the Behavioral Health Foundation, a non-profit policy center driving meaningful systems and policy changes that reduce stigma and improve access to voluntary, evidence-based mental health and addiction care. Elliot is a passionate thought leader and award-winning advocate who has been instrumental in developing and expanding crisis walk-in centers, deflection and pre-arrest diversion programming, harm reduction access, and innovative mental health awareness initiatives. Elliot co-chairs and co-founded the Tennessee Diversion Coalition, and co-leads 988 mental health crisis initiatives for the Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative. Elliot is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a master’s degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. In past roles, he provided mental health services as a therapist for military veterans, children, and families. Elliot is Co-Convener of the GLEPHA Special Interest Group on Mental Health.

Chris White

Chris is a Citizenship and Participation Officer with the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland. For over twenty years Chris White has brought his own mental health experiences into his work supporting lived experience participation and engagement across the mental health sector. He is a strong believer in the power of stories and how they can bring greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Chris is co-convener of the GLEPHA Special Interest Group for Mental Health.

Michael Brown

Michael has worked in the area of policing and mental health for almost twenty years, as a professional lead on policy and practice, as a trainer and blogger.  He is the former Mental Health Coordinator at the (UK) College of Policing, a position resulting from his award winning blog – MentalHealthCop.  He has authored national guidance in addition to policies for police and partnerships.  He served as an expert witness to a number of inquests (UK / Australia), inquiries and thematic reviews.

Michael’s work has led significant recognition: the President’s Medal from the (UK) Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Digital Media Award from the UK’s leading mental health charity, Mind and he was recognised by the Queen in the 2016 UK Honours List.


Michael Kembel

After graduating from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Mike joined the Edmonton Police Service in 2005.  During his time with the Downtown Division neighbourhood foot patrol programme Mike learned the true value of community and partner collaboration. This spirit of collaboration led Mike to join the multi-disciplinary Police and Crisis Team (PACT), a mental health crisis response team in partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS). Mike was then promoted to sergeant and has held supervisory roles both within Downtown Division and the Edmonton Police Service and Albert Health Services joint partnership PACT team. Mike is currently the acting Staff Sergeant in charge of the Human Centred Engagement and Liaison Partnership (HELP), PACT and Crime and Trauma Informed Support Services.

Elena Eva Reynaga

As a sex worker Elena started her social activism in 1994 when she founded the Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices de Argentina. In 1997 she became one of the founders of the Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean (RedTraSex), which brings together 15 countries in the Region. Elena is a reference at regional and international level, since 2020 she has been the regional coordinator in Latin America and the Caribbean for the Global Alliance of actions to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination. In 2008 she was named outstanding personality for Human Rights by the legislature of the City of Buenos Aires, and in 2014 the Senate of Argentina awarded her a diploma of honor for her struggle in the defence of human rights.

Emily Van Doren

Emily Van Doren is Manager of Community Health and Resilience Diversion Programs, Longmont Department of Public Safety, United States.

Lieutenant Sarko Gergerian

Sarko Gergerian is privileged with being the outreach, peer support, and health & fitness officer at the Winthrop Police Department where he has been working for over 10 years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy & Religion with a minor in Psychology from Northeastern University. He earned his Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling and Psychological Services from Salem State University. He practices psychotherapy with adults at night. His education, work, and life experiences have shaped the way he practices policing in his community.

Meredith Hurley

Meredith Hurley serves as the Director of Public Health and Clinical Services for the Town of Winthrop (USA). Since transitioning to public health more than 5 years ago, she has served as public health nurse and also school nurse at Winthrop High School before assuming the role of Director. Integral to the public health work being done in Winthrop has been establishing cross-sector collaborations that previously did not traditionally exist. Out of this work, and the urgency created with the opioid epidemic, the CLEAR (Community & Law Enforcement Assisted Recovery) program was implemented to facilitate recovery options. This has also expanded to focus on mental health as a whole. As Director of Public Health & Clinical Services, Meredith is very interested in preventative versus reactive responses at the community-level.

Gitahi Kanyeki 

Gitahi Kanyeki is an Assistant Inspector General with the Kenya National Police Service and an international trainer with over ten years’ experience applying practical trauma-informed tools bringing together communities and police officers. His work has seen him travel the world helping to share his work experiences as police officer and trauma healer. Kanyeki has a background in counselling psychology from Tangaza University and currently is undertaking a Masters in the same university. He has attended a series of other international professional police trainings in, Rwanda, Botswana, Uganda, USA, Sweden and the UK. Previously he was involved in the psycho social support of the survivors of the Baragoi survivors and Kapedo survivors’ where forty seven police officers were killed by bandits. He has worked in various stations and has done a lot of community police relations during the famous post-election violence (PEV) of 2007/8. His passion comes from his own personal journey in the service working to break the cycle’s violence pitting police officers and communities.

Ahmed Famau

Ahmed Famau is a lead community facilitator with Green String Network tackling violent extremism in Kenya’s coastal town of Lamu through initiating trauma-informed processes that advocate for well-being and peacebuilding practices among the youth and National Police Service. Before he became a community facilitator, he was routinely arrested and tortured by the Kenyan police for several years. Police insisted that he had to prove he was “not a terrorist”. These encounters with police deeply affected him to a level he began doubt himself and began sympathizing with al-Shabaab. During this difficult times Famau got a chance to participate in the trauma-healing programme supported by Green String Network in Lamu. It was at this point that his life was impacted, and he chose to shift his life towards healing. Since then, he a lead facilitator for healing including now working as a police trainer on the trauma-informed programme pairing with different officers.

Angi Yoder-Maina 

Angi Yoder-Maina is Executive Director of a regional NGO called Green String Network, based in Nairobi, Kenya.