A Clinical Alternative to 911 Calls Related to Mental Illness

While the stigmatization, cultural awareness, and treatment of mental health-related illness has undoubtedly improved in recent years, we, as a nation, and...

A Clinical Alternative to 911 Calls Related to Mental Illness
16October

A Clinical Alternative to 911 Calls Related to Mental Illness

Written by Cristo Rogers (Alias)in Section Featured Articles

While the stigmatization, cultural awareness, and treatment of mental health-related illness has undoubtedly improved in recent years, we, as a nation, and our damningly ineffective and ruthlessly unfair justice system in particular, still have a long way to go. 

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, “one in 4 deaths from police shootings represent people with mental illness.

According to the latest statistics, there are 8 million Americans who live schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Of these 8 million considered ‘severely mentally ill,’ only 40% receive any type of psychiatric care in their lifetime. 

While these statistics are alarming enough, the way in which our justice system and police forces respond to and treat the mentally ill exponentially worsens the severity of this issue. 

The Unjust Way in Which Our Justice System Treats Those who are Mentally Ill

According to the Department of Health and Human Services,  severely mentally ill people (those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other disassociative mental illnesses) are ten times likely to be the victim of violent crime than commit an act of violence themselves. 

What's worse, despite being 90 percent more likely to be the victim of violence rather than the perpetrator, mentally ill citizens are also much more inclined to be killed by police than those without mental health-related maladies.  

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, “one in 4 deaths from police shootings represent people with mental illness.

Needless to say, when a significantly subjugated and vulnerable portion of the population is not only being stigmatized, but being put in prison and even killed largely due to the fact they are mentally ill, it’s time to make a systematic change, as well as create  practical preventive measures that ensure the safety of the unjustifiably persecuted.  

Well, thanks to a decades’ old, albeit, largely unknown mental health program in Eugene Oregon, the practical solution to America’s abhorrent treatment of the mentally ill may already be here.

The program is called, CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets). CAHOOTS is a program that works with local police forces by diverting non-violent mental health-related  911 calls to a mental health facility and away from arresting officers. 

But while this culturally groundbreaking service may sound like a common-sense alternative to our country’s current strategy of locking up non-violent mental health-related 911 calls until “beds open up at a residential treatment facility,” as of this writing, Denver, Colorado is only one of eight cities where police officials say they might CONSIDER adding its program to their current co-responder programs. 

To read more about CAHOOTS and how its practical, prosocial services save mentally ill individuals from facing unfair (and in some cases, deadly) consequences, please click the following link where this story was first reported: 

Taking police officers out of mental health-related 911 rescues

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/mental-health/taking-police-officers-out-mental-health-related-911-rescues-n1063951