Monday, October 19, 2020

Police & Mental Health: A Bad Mix

For weeks, Brandon Hayes wandered around Baton Rouge during a mental health crisis, spray-painting nonsensical messages along the way before finally checking himself into the hospital for treatment. police officers soon showed up at the behavioral health center where Hayes was being treated, placed him under arrest and in the midst of the COVID pandemic, transported him to the parish jail — an outdated and overcrowded detention center that even the warden has called "deplorable" for mental health patients... Read the whole story here.

In L.A., Tulsa, Seattle, and several other cities, there are new pilot initiatives to partner cops with mental health experts and social workers. Even though activists' demands to "defund" the police seem to have lost favor with voters -- Democrats won't touch the issue -- it's clear that the new collaboratives have been driven in large part by public reaction to unabated police killings and brutality towards the mentally ill. 

Studies show that 1 in 4 people with mental illness have a history of police arrest. The Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit that studies mental health issues, has calculated that the odds of being killed during a police encounter are 16X higher for individuals with untreated serious mental illness as they are for people in the broader population.

The new collaboratives are a small, but significant victory for police reformers as well as for the Black Lives Matter movement, although few will admit it.   

As you might expect, Trump is mocking the new pilot collaboratives at his campaign rallies. 

At his illegal Oct. 10th rally at the White House, DT claimed that Biden said, “When you call 911, a therapist should answer the call.” 

He didn’t of course, although it's not such a bad idea. What Biden has said is that mental health experts should accompany police on some calls. No, it's not a very radical concept. Plus, although DT probably doesn't remember, it's a policy even he supported in a June executive order.

What a dick!

This from Amanda Klonsky on FB:
It's been 7 months, and winter is looming. Mental health issues related to our lock down and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression and other mental health disorders. NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Health has a helpline: (800)950-6264. The relapse and overdose rate has increased by 30% since March 2020.
The 24 hr suicide prevention hotline is: (800)273-8255

Thanks Amanda. 


  1. Agree 1000% with you. We have a very active NAMI group in Mn. They are terrific.

  2. Trump's joke was a rhetorical trick, an attempt to put us between a rock and a hard place, to split the supporters of Biden into two camps: center and progressive left. Just like Pence's lie that Biden would ban fracking...these lies all come from Trump's Brain, whoever he is.

    By creating a fracture, they hope to flake off a few votes here, a few there.

    If Biden's Brain Trust says "Yes!" or "Hooray," some centrist voters may crack. If Biden's Brain says "I deny that," then some progressive left voters will crack.

    That's how they hope to frack America...not for gas and oil but for votes.


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