Shining the Light on Mental Illness, Trauma and Suicide
Maria Stengel, Trainer
Maria is a retired detective with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in Tucson, Arizona where she served for 21 years (1996-2017). Beginning in 2013, Maria was part of an innovative team within the Sheriff’s Department - the Mental Health Support Team (MHST). MHST ensures that individuals with mental health challenges receive the necessary treatment and support through a collaborative effort with behavioral health professionals, law enforcement, jails, medical practitioners, judicial entities, and the public. As a member of the Association of Threat Professionals (ATAP) Maria used her training, experience and knowledge to quickly and effectively manage high profile individuals at risk of endangering the community. Additional assignments included the Crimes Against Children Unit and the Fraud & Elder Abuse Unit.
Maria specialized in several areas during her career: Child Forensic Interviewer, Crisis Negotiator, Peer Support, Honor Guard, General Instructor, Terrorism Liaison Officer and Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
During her 18 years as a Crisis Negotiator Maria became a lead trainer in all aspects of Crisis Negotiations, including Active Listening Skills and De-Escalation. Maria took an active role in coordinating monthly, quarterly and specialized trainings for team members, including scenario-based joint training with the Tactical Team, EOD and Search & Rescue. Maria has taken on many roles for training in all of her assignments including: Developer, Writer, Planner, Lecturer, Role Player, and Evaluator.
Maria is a National Trainer in Mental Health First Aid through the National Council for Behavioral Health. As such Maria is certified to instruct many of the modules of Mental Health First Aid. However, her primary focus is training First Responders and the Military. In 2018 Maria was recognized by the National Council for instructing over 500 first responders in the Public Safety module – all in Southern Arizona.
Since retiring from the Sheriff’s Department in 2017, Maria has been employed at Arizona Complete Health as a First Responder Liaison. In this position, Maria continues to use her knowledge and experience in the behavioral health system to collaboratively coordinate crisis services for all first responder agencies in multiple counties. Additionally, Maria has been instrumental in creating and instructing First Responder Resiliency curriculum for law enforcement (local and federal) and their families.