(WXYZ) – Often when mental health episodes reach their breaking point, the police get involved in what was likely already a struggle for this person and their loved ones.
Unfortunately, we have seen tragic outcomes for those who suffer from mental illness: their own death, the death of a loved one or the police.
How police respond to mental health calls
“If I have mental issues and problems, and you’re saying ‘drop the gun, drop the knife,’ whatever, I look at you like you’re a demon,” said Steve Dulont, the retired Detroit Police Assistant Chief.
Dulont points out that someone, even if armed with a knife, can bridge the gap between themselves and the officer faster than it would take the officer to remove their firearm from their holster.
“The officers didn’t want to shoot them. We don’t come to work saying ‘I’m going to kill someone.’ They have to live with the fact that they are taking someone’s life.”
Dolant adds since mental hospitals closed, we’ve discovered more and more people who have stopped their medication.
“My son has resigned from several psychiatrists. He’s too high a standard, and they can’t provide the care he needs, because he showed behaviors that rearranged their desks. But they would text me and say, ‘But you need to go in and get treatment,'” Kathleen Avery said. So don’t let that be late.”
Avery’s son – now in his twenties – has struggled with mental health issues his entire life.
“It can become very violent,” she said. “I have a scar here from it.”
Avery found frustration with the mental health care that is supposed to help her son and others like him.
“Every part of the system is broken,” she said. “The crisis centers are full, they don’t have enough beds, they don’t have enough staff, so they send people away. The hospital is the same.”
Working hard – Avery became the best lawyer for her son.
In Wayne County, there are free mental health services and resources. The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network or DWIHN It provides services including so-called mental health first aid to help people recognize someone in crisis and how to respond.
“Our hospitals are often filled to capacity,” said David Yadush, a licensed clinical counselor with BetterHelp. “Access to other mental health resources in the community can sometimes be difficult or prohibitively expensive. So telehealth programs have really increased access to care.”
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform. Yadush says it’s important to access resources before a crisis occurs.
“So you can have the information you need in the event of a crisis. It’s really hard to think clearly, it’s hard to get involved in the things we normally do. But also, that endorsement is what moves us forward. It’s what makes it easier for everyone to access health resources. This mindset is to find a therapist to find a psychiatrist if necessary.”
Dolent said, “Build a mental institution. Pay people what they deserve and get the help they need.”
Avery said people should come together to take action.
“I’ve spoken to every entity involved. But none of them work together. I know about that person. I’ve heard about that person. They should all be colleagues. Because we are all going to be able to make a difference here. But no single entity can do that.” that.
Her advice to loved ones: Talk to the police before you need them.
“I’d go to the town where I lived, and ask to speak to a sergeant or lieutenant, and say, ‘Hey, you know, this is my address. This is my darling. This is the diagnosis for when you guys come over because I’m going to need you so many times. That’s what I want you to come by.'” And I told them you need a quiet voice.More numbers step it up, I know you need numbers, but please don’t bring it with you unless necessary,” she said.