These mental health crises ended in fatal police encounters. Now, some communities are trying a new

These mental health crises ended in fatal police encounters. Now, some communities are trying a new approach (CW: Violence and Death)
Posted on Oct 10 2020
CNN

While police departments have come under heightened scrutiny in recent months amid a racial reckoning stemming from fatal encounters with Black Americans, so have their actions in mental health emergencies. Experts and communities across the US are taking a hard look at whether law enforcement should be the first line of response. "The short answer to that is no," says Shannon Scully, senior manager of criminal justice policy at NAMI. "The law enforcement field is not equipped, nor should it ever be the first responder to a mental health crisis." But with other mental health resources vastly underfunded or non-existent in many parts of the country, police departments have taken on the task by preparing patrol officers for these emergencies with the help of mental health training. "But NAMI remains concerned about any model that inherently relies on law enforcement involvement in responses to mental health emergencies," Scully told CNN. "The solution here is really looking at the mental health services and support centers in the community and then how law enforcement plays really kind of a secondary, supportive role," she says. And there likely won't be a one-size-fits-all approach for every community.