Friday, August 01, 2008

The Police and People with Mental Illness

From coast to coast, mentally ill people, without reliable access to the costly on-demand care they need, are left to fend for themselves. In the aftermath of the movement in the 1970s to close large mental asylums, many of today's mentally ill are left to their own devices; they are often homeless and without full-time advocates. With government unable or unwilling to properly serve this population, the criminal-justice system is left to pick up the slack.


Is the above passage from a Treatment Advocacy Center report?  You might think it was, but it is from a recent web article from Newsweek

“Experts on treatment say the police for the most part do a good job handling the millions of interactions they have each year with the mentally ill,” the article continues. “But is it irresponsible to ask them to undertake duties that perplex even trained, savvy professionals?”

A very good question indeed.