Mental Illness Is Not A Crime

Last night I watched “The View” from earlier that day (yes I tape The View every day and once I even got to sit in their VIP seats for a live taping many moons ago!!!!). 
The ladies were discussing the tragedy that unfolded in Philadelphia earlier this week when Police Officers were called to the home of Walter Wallace Jr., a young black man who was in the midst of a mental health crisis. For those who don’t know, he was shot (many, many times) and killed by Police Officers because he was wielding a knife (not a gun!) and had ignored their pleas to drop it even after his mother was heard hysterically begging them to help him. 
This is yet another story of unjust in America today especially amongst the Black community but sadly the Police in many parts of America don’t have the necessary tools or training when it comes to deescalating a mental health crisis.
Family members of this young man had called 911 to request an ambulance and medical assistance but instead the Police showed up with their guns drawn and ready for battle. 
As the ladies further discussed the tragedy itself and the imminent need for proper tools and training in police departments across America they then continued to support their cause by stating facts on how many other countries are so much better equipped to deal with these types of mental health crisises and how they have also taken the important steps forward to deescalate similar situations in a more humane way. 
I was most proud when Joy Behar gave a particular shout out to Toronto for having these tools and training in place.  I have found myself in situations where 911 has needed to be called during a mental health crisis. And yes, I may not be black or living in America or have ever been in a state of psychosis or armed with a weapon for that matter to fully compare the two situations but when 911 is called during a mental health crisis here in Toronto (and its surrounding areas) I can tell you first hand that an ambulance will arrive on the scene and that a police officer will always be accompanied by a trained mental health professional. 
This very tragic outcome was also very preventable and should never have happened. Apparently since this tragedy just days ago, Police Officers in Philadelphia are now required to carry a taser with them (which they didn’t have on them at the time due to there being a shortage) when responding to mental health calls which could have made a difference between the life and death for this young man who deserved to live and get the proper help he needed, the help his family stood by begging for as they watched him be shot again and again and AGAIN. He was not a CRIMINAL, he was SICK and it’s time for America to take a page out of Toronto’s Playbook.
#makesmeverysad #mentalillnessisnotacrime #mentalhealth #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough #proudtobecanadian @theviewabc

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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