Saturday, December 28, 2019


There is undoubtedly a mental health crisis going on throughout the county, more and more people are reaching that breaking point where they are lashing out in unbelievable ways. 

Law enforcement responds to all types of incidents involving both children and adults, it just doesn’t seem like the current systems in place for dealing with theses mental health crises are adequate. It appears as if the system in place addresses the incident, but not the underline cause of the incident and that leads to it happening again.

Currently when Officers respond to any incident that involves mental health there is a simple response; check for injuries or death, establish what happened, who was involved, and determine if a crime was committed. If a crime was committed and it requires a custodial arrest take the perpetrator into custody immediately. If a crime was not committed and certain criteria are met, take the subject causing the incident into custody on an Emergency Custody Order and transport them to be mentally evaluated.

The criteria are as follows: The person must be a danger to themselves or others, the person must not be able to provide the basic needs (i.e. bathing, eating, etc.) for themselves, the person is in danger or if placed in danger would not be able to defend his/herself, and finally the person must be in need of a mental health evaluation and is not voluntarily going for one. If a subject meets the criteria they will be taken into custody and transported to a facility to be mentally evaluated. This is not voluntarily, thus once the determine is made the subject is going whether they want to or not.

I did some research into what happens after they are evaluated and found some interesting results. So they basically go to a mental facility for several days where they are observed and given the opportunity to speak to mental health specialist. If found to be fine for that moment, they are released without anything further required. If found to be in need of medicine, they are prescribed whatever can help, and released. If found to be in need of hospitalization, they are held at a facility until they are “Better”.

At first glance they system doesn’t seem too bad, mental health addresses the conditions of those in need and then send them on their way. My concern is when the subjects return to the same environment where the initial incidents took place with little differences in place, they are different but the environment isn’t. Thus, eventually Law enforcement will be returning to the location for the same thing or something similar because the underlining issue may or may not have been addressed properly. I believe more can be done in reference to these type of incident and I know we can’t save everyone, but a little more effort would go a long way in helping these people.

I am choosing to stop here because this topic spans into so many other problematic areas built into the system in place that I plan on discussing in later posts, but I hope this was at least food for thought.

Does Mental Health…Actually Help?!