Handling Crisis

The Story


Read more at thecity.nyc
Photo: olli0815/iStock

Mayor de Blasio announced a new plan to send specially trained mental health workers to join cops on emergency calls involving seriously mentally ill people. The idea is that police, lacking the proper training, too often have reacted in ways that result in the deaths of people in the midst of a psychiatric crisis who may pose a danger to others. But it isn’t clear that these kinds of efforts are successful–or that it makes sense to send civilians into dangerous situations.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Treatment: The assumption that seriously mentally ill people in crisis will respond to more outreach is undermined by the fact that these same people invariably have rejected voluntary treatment options. Read more.

  2. Danger: A tiny number of “emotionally disturbed persons” get shot by police–but such people account for 18% of attacks on police. Read more.

  3. Jail-diversion programs: A better, and proven, method is to redirect mentally ill, low-level offenders out of the criminal-justice system and into needed court-ordered treatment. Read more.

“Police shootings of emotionally disturbed persons are relatively rare, but disturb all New Yorkers.”

DJ Jaffe, Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Reinventing Mental Health Care By E. Fuller Torrey (Autumn, 1999)

“Famously—and for the flimsiest of reasons, ranging from a governmental desire to save money to the once-fashionable belief that mental illness is only a different but perfectly valid form of consciousness, the nation largely dismantled its mental health care system over the last 40 years.”

And in other news...

“On Sunday, another beloved regional chain, Wegmans, which began as a pushcart vegetable business in 1916 on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, in New York, will open in the hipster industrial landscape of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”