When Mental-Health Experts, Not Police, Are the First Responders

EUGENE, Ore.—They are the kind of calls that roll into police departments with growing regularity: a man in mental crisis; a woman hanging out near a dumpster at an upscale apartment complex; a homeless woman in distress.

In most American cities, it is police officers who respond to such calls, an approach law-enforcement experts say increases the risk of a violent encounter because they aren’t always adequately trained to deal with the mentally ill. At least one in every four people killed by police has a serious mental illness, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit based in Arlington, Va.

But in Eugene, Oregon’s third-largest city, when police receive such calls, they aren’t usually the ones who respond. Here, the first responders are typically pairs of hoodie-wearing crisis workers and medics driving white vans stocked with medical supplies, blankets and water.



When I became psychotic 3 years ago.
There were at least 7 different cops that showed up at my house.

That seems a little excessive. Did they think you were dangerous? It sounds like they were not educated in how to deal with a situation like that. :bouquet::bouquet::bouquet:

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I overdosed on pain killers and my daughter who was 17 at the time took me to the hospital. Bad idea. We went through a whole trouble with child and family services because she wasn’t 18.
The second time I overdosed my friend took me and i was unconscious for the first two days and spent almost two months. I’m glad none of it was with police.

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Yeah it was excessive.
I live in a small town so this might be why.

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I wish the police had shown up for me. I went 3 years untreated in a small town in the mid-80s when I was 20 but nobody was interested in doing anything other than insulting and ridiculing me. Even my family were like that.

I like to think that society has moved on and developed since the advent of network tv and the internet. Hopefully people aren’t so closed minded these days.

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The police showed up when my friends called 911 because I was suicidal but the ambulance took me to the hospital.

I think it’s just standard procedure. The officer complained about me wanting to call my husband.

Apologies about the link folks. It worked when I posted the link ie allowed full access to the article but now doesn’t. So many news sources going behind a paywall nowadays ::frowning_face:

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