The killing of the homeless and mentally ill

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Nomad, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Right this second, I'm a little shook up. I went to a NAMI meeting about a week ago. The president said she was recently called to testify on a case re: the above subject and couldn't talk about it much. I am aware that there have been a lot of deaths in my area. Police shootings of the mentally ill. I wasn't aware of one very recently...but then again...I have been avoiding the paper for perhaps a month. I do know that the police can be trained on the proper way to approach the mentally ill and to work with families, etc. In fact, I am looking into taking a related training with- NAMI.

    Today, I picked up the paper (after about a month of not reading it and got the shock of my life). One headline "Police shoot, kill homeless man"
    First paragraph says that an "agitated" homeless man near a homeless shelter was "unfazed" by a stun gun and because the man was approacing the officer with a broken bottle, the officer shot him dead. This happened last night.

    In another article, there is a photo of a mother crying hysterically. Her son was shot dead on Monday, during a warrant arrest. He was 17 and may have tried to grab the gun of one of the officers and/or tried to use a bat on one of them.

    I don't want to make this political...honestly, these officers risk their lives and deserve to protect themselves. But I did notice, that the articles did not mention whether or not the officers received specialized training to work with the mentally ill.

    IN addition, at the NAMI meeting, one woman there (it was heartbreaking) had a son with a severe disorder and when she called for help...she wanted him committed...the police caused the situation to escalate...he hit his father....and then they arrested him and threw him in jail.

    I'm going to call the NAMI president to see what further information I can get and to see when the next training I can get might be with- reference to myself.

    I think it is hearbreaking that the mentally ill don't have better access to therapy and/or hospitals. And it is sick that in many cases, our jails are where they end up because there are no resources available. It it is now easiest to put them there and often they are made worse by the situation and forgotten. (sometimes for a long time).
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Nomad -

    The training I believe you are refering to is Crisis Intervention Training.

    I HIGHLY recommend you read a little novel called Crazy. It explains MORE than you want to know about how the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and the over burdened police go hand in hand.

    We have a very bad client and an awfully twisted lawyer to thank for this all. I hope they are both happy.

    Get the book - it's a good read. And it explains a lot from a Father's perspective of a son who is schizophrenic.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Horrible... in the book "Crazy- A father's search through america's mental health madness" By Peter Early
    He writes all bout this and the training police need and should have. It makes you sick when you realize how bed it is.
    Are the police in your area CIT trained? (Crisis Intervention Training). I looked up our area before we moved here and talked with a writer, Kate McClaughlin who has had to use it here in the area. She is insistent on police being CIT trained and demands one when she calls for assistance. In here book she has a good explanation on how to avoid being taken away in a situation of violence, and be sent to a hospital instead.
    I am going to start going to the NAMI meetings here. I would like to be trained as well on any advocacy issues etc.
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Ditto what Star said!!! She beat me to the punch...
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Yeah! Cause some darling sent me that book! (((((((hugs)))))
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I havent read the book star refers to...maybe I dont want to. I can see both sides in this situation. Not only are the police killing the homeless and the mentally ill but gangs target them for initiation killings. They are easy prey. I dont think this is such a huge problem in smaller towns as it is in major metropolitan areas. Small towns can basically know who is who. Here if the cops come they know my son isnt going to try to kill them because they know him. This wouldnt be the case in a larger area.

    Under the same theory though...what are the cops supposed to do with a person who is coming at them with a bat or a broken bottle and wont put it down, refuses to stop, and a stun gun wont stop them? Sometimes these people do commit something known as suicide by cop. I have known good cops and bad cops. Most really dont want to kill people.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I read half the book and was crying so badly...I had to put it aside. Of course, now...I am not sure where I put it. I have so many books in this house, it is chaotic sometimes. If I don't find it by the end of the day today, I will order it on amazon. We discussed this issue in one of my classes and I presented a film on that judge and so did the professor. The class was in shock. It has been so emotional for me, that sometimes I draw a blank (dissociative state...perhaps). However, I know that I can get through this and will finish the book and deal with it. Thank you.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    As I learn more of the details of how my Uncle died after being in prison most of his life, this means a lot to me as well. He was Mentally Ill and was Learning Disability (LD) as well. He was a drug addict, never received any mental health evaluations. He was either in a halfway house or prison most of his life. He died in a hospital from sepsis...
    It does hurt to think about
  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Deinstitutionalization is a real hot spot for me. It was meant to give the incapacitated a decent life. Unfortunately, no plans were made to give them anything. They are now homeless, aggitated and in need of help. The police have every right to defend themselves and the mentally ill have every right to have treatment that is not 48hrs.
    Hopefully those that speak for the mentally ill will be able to assert pressure on our society to give the mentally ill a decent roof over their heads. We would never think to put our terminal family in a he** holes. They get Hospice. What do our adults get? The mentally ill get, unsafe areas of the city if they get any housing. Homelessness and hopelessness.

    The mentally ill would not be shot if they were not left to fend for themselves and are out there without medication and unable to cope. The prison system is the largest mental health provider in the country. How sad is that?!? It breaks your heart.

    Be vocal. Vote for those who champion the most vulnerable adults. It's a crime how we treat the mentally ill.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member are absolutely right on target. I got lost in thought in my post and forgot the second half. Sheesh what medications will do for you!

    That is what scares me the most. When they closed down so many of state run facilities and just threw people out on the streets it was a travesty. I have an uncle that is living in an institution that I have no idea how the family has managed to keep him in. I really dont know what his diagnosis is either but he has been in this place for as long as I have been alive and I think longer from what I have been told. I believe he has some form of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) but could be wrong. It could be schiz or something. I also had an aunt who lived on the streets of Boston for years after an accident that left her mentally ill.

    It scares me to think that there is no middle ground. Prisons shouldnt be our mental health system. They are not equipped for it. If we can put a space station in space we can build adequate and safe housing for the mentally ill.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Fran and others...
    I wonder if it would be acceptable to post on here very general political information...on where we can find information on any candidates (not just those running for president) where comments/decisions have been made re: mental illness.

    I agree, deinstitutionalization is a joke. Sometimes I think that our country can only think in black or white....all or nothing. In addition, almost everything...almost all decisions...are made largely because of money concerns.

    My husband heard the other day that some insurance companies have decided NOT to pay for many chemotherapies for cancer patients....however, they have added on that they will pay for ASSISTED SUICIDE. Gee....I wonder what motivated them to make this sicko decision.

    The idea that the prison is our largest mental health provider makes me cringe....that is when I'm not crying.

    I found the book. :sad-very::angry-very:
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I would like to see your info, Nomad. If its not ok to post, please PM it to me.

    I agree this is very, very broken.

    And I'm going to go buy the book after work.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Shari...I actually don't have anything at this time. My thought was that if I keep going to NAMI meetings, I might pick things up. Just wasn't sure what was okay to post. What I get...I will pm you.

    I do think this is a great book to read.

    I also have Crazy in America on my "to read" shelf.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Nomad, I have a friend who is just now getting training in reg. to how to deal with-"Mentals"--4 yrs after she retired from the sheriff's dept., and 6 mo's after she took a layperson job with-same dept.
    I'm not sure why she had to go to the training. I think they all should.
    There will always be a problem when there are weapons. Officers have to shoot to kill if there is a weapon being brandished. But if it's just a baseball bat, for ex., there are numerous other methods.
    Deinstitutionalization is one of our most pressing issues. If I were ever to run for office, I would have it on my platform. It's GOT to be addressed.
  15. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I've been saying this for years. It's the reason I never called the police on my son.

    Physician assisted suicide is legal in only one state -- Oregon -- and applies only to terminally ill people. I think it is as appropriate for insurance companies to pay for the medication and the doctor's services to hasten death as it is for them to prolong it.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2008
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fran-you said it so well.

    I am glad that in our community the police have the crisis intervention training, I'm not sure but I think it came about after a mentally ill person was killed by an officer.