Union Station Weekly; Vol. 3, Issue 8; September 25, 2020

A call for better care for individuals in Crisis by Law Enforcement

In the past few months, we have seen in the media several incidences with individuals of all ages that have a mental health or neurological diagnosis be mistreated by members of law enforcement who are only dispatched to de-escalate a crisis and get the individual the help they need. For some of those individuals, such as a man from Lancaster, PA; an 13-year old Autistic boy; and a man from Rochester, their help did not get answered properly. Instead, they were victims of police shootings, some fatal. This has to change, we need to help of fellow persons in the community, not make them feel like a criminal. There needs to be change at the federal, state and local levels for better reforms such as including persons to respond to these calls that have the proper educational background and expertise for properly managing individuals with mental health, developmental, neurological, and intellectual disabilities de-escalate and get the help that they need safely and correctly. We need to be proactive instead of reactive in making sure that individuals in need along with law enforcement are given the proper educational tools and skillsets to be knowledgeable in interacting with each other, especially in times of need and despair so there is no friction. Be aware of each other is key to this process! Additionally, I personally feel while the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will have a nationwide 3-digit number by 2022 in the US, thee needs to be an emphasis on early crisis intervention such as more availability of warmlines to serve all areas of the country and better care from local crisis hotlines and better rapport of Crisis Intervention Teams as to not to have such an overpowering look as a “tactical” person who is “here for you” There needs to be a more warmer front to the delivery of this services that I could feel would ease the person in need so that they will feel comfortable with being up front with needing help

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