Oak Park Police believe simple silicone bracelets can help break down communication barriers during emergencies when first responders encounter individuals with autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia or other mental health issues.
The bracelets — their green color universally associated with mental health — are inscribed with Oak Park Cares and also serve as visual indicators of support for mental health awareness.
But the bracelets can be more than just symbolic. Bracelets also can include a metal face plate with a unique identification number and directions to contact the Oak Park Police Department should an issue arise.
The bracelets contain no personal information, but the ID number allows Police to access details about its wearer that can be shared with first responders and medical care givers in an emergency.
The ultimate goal of the program, which grew from collaboration with Elementary School District 97 and the Oak Park Township Mental Health Board, is to keep the individual safe and provide an expedient return to a parent or guardian. A grant from the Mental Health Board helped get the program started.
Police say they don’t want to single out those with mental health issues. Additional bracelets without face plates also are available to family members, friends and neighbors who want to show their support for expanding mental health awareness.
For more information call 708.386.3800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Police Department at Village Hall, 123 Madison Street.