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

When Mental-Health Experts, Not Police, Are the First Responders – Wall Street Journal, Nov. 24, 2018 (PDF)

Program in Eugene, Oregon, is viewed as a model for reducing risk of violence

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.

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