"Every part of the system is down."  State of mental health in Michigan raises concerns

“Every part of the system is down.” State of mental health in Michigan raises concerns

(WXYZ) – Often, when episodes of mental health reach a breaking point, the police become involved in what has likely already been a struggle for that person and their loved ones.

Unfortunately, we have seen tragic results for people with mental illness: their death or the death of a loved one or a police officer.

How the police respond to mental health calls

“If I have mental issues, issues, and you say ‘drop the gun, drop the knife’, whatever, to me, I’m looking at you like you’re a demon. I’m out of my mind. You can so say what you want, but I’m coming to get you,” said Steve Dolunt, retired deputy chief of the Detroit police.

Dolunt points out that someone, even armed with a knife, can close the gap between him and an officer faster than it takes an officer to holster his gun.

“The officers didn’t want to shoot them. We don’t come to work saying, ‘I’m going to kill somebody.’ And they have to live with the fact that they took someone’s life,” he said.

RELATED: Mental Health Management: Here’s a List of Michigan Mental Health Resources

Dolunt adds that since they closed the psychiatric hospitals, we find that more and more people are off their medication.

“My son got dumped by several psychiatrists. He’s too high level, they can’t give him the care he needs, because he’s displayed behaviors that have reorganized their practices. But they’re going to m ‘send a letter and say, ‘but he has to come in and get treatment, so don’t let that drag on,’ Kathleen Avery said.

Avery’s son – now in his 20s – has struggled with mental health issues his entire life.

“He can get really violent. I actually have a scar from him,” she said.

Avery experienced frustration with mental health care meant to help his son and others like him.

“Every part of the system is down. The crisis centers are overloaded, they don’t have enough beds, they don’t have enough staff, so they send people away. The hospital is the same,” he said. she declared.

With hard work, Avery became her son’s best advocate.

In Wayne County, there are free mental health services and resources. The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network or DWIHN offers services, including what is called mental health first aid, to help people recognize and respond to someone in crisis.

“Our hospitals are often filled to capacity. Other mental health resources in the community can sometimes be difficult to access or expensive. So telehealth programs have really improved that access to care,” said David Yadush, counselor registered clinic at BetterHelp.

BetterHelp is an online therapy platform. Yadush says it is important to access resources before there is a crisis.

“So that you can have the information you need in a crisis. It’s really hard to think straight, it’s hard to engage in what we normally would do. But also, this advocacy is what makes us This is what makes it easier for everyone to access these mental health resources to find a therapist and find a psychiatrist if needed,” he said.

Dolnut said, “Build a mental institution. Pay people what they deserve and get them the help they need.”

Avery said people need to come together to take action.

“I have spoken to all the entities involved. But none of them work together. I know this person. I have heard of this person. They should all be colleagues. Because together we will all be able to do a difference here. But no single entity can make it,” she said.

His advice to loved ones: Talk to the police before you need them.

“I would go to the town where I lived, ask to speak to a sergeant or a lieutenant and say, hey, you know, this is my address. This is my beloved. This is the diagnosis when you come because I’ll need you many times. That’s what I need you to come with. And I told them you needed a calm voice. More numbers just keep growing, I know you need numbers, but please don’t bring them with you unless necessary,” she said.


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