Photo credit: @julesdwit.
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I am a social worker who has worked in two homeless shelters in 2 years. Most times the police have been helpful when called, with two major exceptions:
There was a violent episode in one shelter which escalated into a minor riot. 911 was called repeatedly and when I was able to reach the front door I found a squad car out front, waiting for backup. In the meantime shelter residents and entry level staff had spent the last 20 minutes at serious risk of harm.
Last summer a client in a shelter made her way (at midnight) out onto a ledge threatening to jump. After the police arrived, they stood in the street, 3 of them, with no comment or response, as I tried to persuade the psychotic woman to return into the building. 15 minutes later EMTs arrived and they were the people who helped me pull the woman to safety.
So it is not only the police who are being asked to handle situations beyond their control, in part due to laws which protect the right of the menatally ill to refuse their medications.
SUICIDE BY COP ----IS NOT THE WAY TO TREAT MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE ; there is always time to get someone from mental health services to provide assistance ----WHAT SEEMS DESPERATE TODAY TO SOMEONE IN MENTAL CRISIS, MIGHT BE SOLVED WITH ASSISTANCE ANOTHER DAY !!!!!!!!
in Toronto, they have a mental health professional teaming up with police that go on rounds on the streets. A film maker in residence for the St Michael's hospital has made a wonderful interactive piece on this subject (amongst others)
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