Wow. John Oliver just summed up the problems with our mental health system in 11 minutes and 54 seconds – with plenty of room for punchlines as well. I know – seems like something that isn’t humorous. But this segment provides more respect for mental health issues than so many others I’ve seen. Well-placed humor can do that.
Watch it here:
His opening statement, like all the facts in this comedy-in-truth piece, is correct:
“It seems there is nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark political interest in mental health.”
Guilty as charged. My last post was, yes, sparked by yet another act of violence that I suspected would eventually point back to an unaddressed mental health problem in the shooter (and lack of support for his family). After receiving 2 comments which were too extreme to approve, I almost deleted the post today. It seems to have sparked stigma and judgment instead of the empathy and constructive outrage I had hoped to inspire. But I will let it remain in this thread, because while I myself may have jumped the gun on “judging” this shooter with expectations that attention should have been paid to his mental health way before a crisis, I also know that such judgment harms people like my son, who lives in fear that people will find out he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. (for the record, his name and identifiable facts have been changed in the book and in my posts, with his permission to tell the story that way) Continue reading Thank You, John Oliver. And I apologize.→
I have just returned from the CIT International Conference, where I met so many who are passionate about their crisis and mental health work – and though I came there to share the family view, I learned so much more than I offered. And yet – everyone who met thanked me for being willing to share our story, and the family point-of-view when crisis hits. Wow. (No, thank you…)
Who was there? Police officers, mental health workers, detectives, Police Chiefs, Psychiatric Nurses, Psychiatrists, corrections officer, security guards, consumers, and family members like David Kaczynski, who spoke about his sibling experience as brother of the so-called “Unabomber” – though that relationship had so much more to it. David’s love for his brother was clear, as was his agony over his brothers’ illness: schizophrenia.
When my son Ben was in the first stages of recurring psychosis, when we were waiting for him to get “sick enough” to finally earn a bed in a psychiatric unit (don’t get me started on this), we had many encounters with our local police officers while Ben – and we – were in crisis.
I am so happy that these officers were trained in crisis intervention – for their kindness and empathy toward Ben, Ali and me made our traumatic situation more bearable. And – even more importantly – their CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) made it possible to avoid the trauma-upon-trauma pile-up of emotions that could have escalated the crisis instead. Continue reading CIT International: A Mother’s Gratitude→
Early this month I attended the annual speaker meeting of NAMI Fairfield, a very strong affiliate in Connecticut. Our guests? Members of the local police force, one of its eight officers trained so far (as of the end of this month) for the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team).
Here a few things I learned:
All Police Academy graduates have had some training in Crisis Intervention. The CIT-trained officers, however, are have advanced knowledge and skills. Kind of like getting the heart specialist instead of the general practice doctor.