I’ve shared some articles recently about this problem, but nothing hits home like, well, home. And seeing the issue right where you live.
During a recent hearing about putting a tax on the ballot for the Baton Rouge area to fund a mental health treatment facility, the reporter who was covering the hearing posted this tidbit from the Sheriff:
— Andrea Gallo (@aegallo) August 8, 2018
Yes, there are a lot of people in prison or emergency rooms because the police had nowhere else to take them during a mental health emergency. Even if he’s exaggerating a bit for effect, I think it’s safe to say that we can probably put the number of people in prison who are actually in need of mental health treatment, and not getting it, is close to 50%. Imagine the other issues we could address if our jails were half as populated as they are and people were getting proper treatment instead of winding up in prison?
Two quick follow up thoughts:
1. I fully expect to see stigma on full display as this tax comes up for a vote in December.
2. The articles I’ve shared about mental health in prison, or sexual abuse of prisoners, are traditionally some of the least-engaging posts on social media. The stigma against those with a criminal record of any type is strong, even in the community trying to overcome stigma. There’s something sad about that.