From The Huffington Post’s
“We have seen how dramatically mental health’s impact on our communities has increased, as seen in the sheer number of calls for service on police agencies. In fact, research has identified that upwards of 20 per cent of police calls for service are mental health-related, and it’s important to note that the majority of them are not as a result of a criminal act.”
“To put this in perspective, we have the police attending response calls for a medical emergency with limited education on the subject and seldom with direct access to the needed medical expertise for such a response. This sounds like a recipe for disaster.
To be fair, we are seeing the police better-trained on how to recognize and understand mental illness, and how to de-escalate a call so that it does not become a violent situation. I am not suggesting the police don’t try or don’t care.
In fact, they care enough to attend these extremely difficult calls with the hope of helping someone in dire need of medical help and, in my experience, police have become some of our community’s most caring frontline mental health workers. The problem is that they are not frontline mental health workers, nor should the be.
“If we want to improve the lives of the mentally ill and better prepare the police, then having the right responder at the right time is the right thing to do.”
We need experts in the field of mental illness attending mental health calls with the police.
OR demand Mental Health Facilities exclusively handle mental health, substance abuse and psychiatric emergency.
The city and county budgets need to prioritize this service. Please take into consideration proposals for more community based programs NOT more money funnel into police departments.