Thursday, October 18, 2012

Devolved upon the police

One of the more common dispatched incidents for Lincoln police officers these days is a mental health investigation.  It's a topic that I've blogged about before.  Since I launched my blog in early 2007, however, the number of cases handled by the police has nearly doubled.  I believe this is a reflection of declining resources available in the community for people with mental illnesses--especially those who are poor and those who are in crisis.  Essentially, as the services have dwindled, the problem has devolved upon the police.

Capt. Joe Wright is doing an in-service training class for police officers this week on this subject, and I took notice of the very first slide in his PowerPoint. The data confirms these anecdotal observations.


Steve said...

You might have another one on your hands soon. There's some guy who posts here quite often who thinks he's a pirate.

Mike Burda said...

Mr. Casady,

I offer this comment not to derail the intent of your blog. I offer this comment so that we can reflect on the focus of our community and where we apply resources. I realize that you provide insight into the effectiveness of government and policing through the use of data. I applaud that. But there ought to be a soul or a reason as to why we place resources in certain areas.

To which, I leave this comment "I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.'" - Matthew 25:36.

Tom Casady said...

Mr. Burda,

That really is the focus of my blog post this morning: the need for community resources for the mentally ill. There is no other chronic illness for which the back seat of a patrol car is the best we can muster. So, let's do this:

1. Provide financial support through our charitable giving to such organizations as Centerpointe and St. Monica's--either directly or through the United Way and Community Services Fund.

2. Encourage our elected officials who are making tough budget decisions to prioritize mental health services as they do other health care services.

3. Think about ways to improve the care provided for people with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses. I find the low salaries, high turnover, and short training of workers who staff group homes to be a bit disturbing. I'm not sure what to do about it, but it is completely understandable to me that a $9.25/hr. employee who received one week of training and has been on the job for three weeks calls the police to calm and counsel a client in crises, and relies on the officer to negotiate a suitable resolution to the problem. That doesn't make it right, but I certainly understand why it happens.

Anonymous said...


Mental health issues are either genetic or environmental. Fixing a genetic issue in mental health is the domain of Psychiatrists and Psychologists.

Environment probably plays a bigger part in mental health than the Genetic component. None of us live in a bubble. We all have an affect on those we come in contact with. We probably have the biggest effect on members of our immediate family but our influence isn't confined to just them. If everybody practiced the "Golden Rule" mental illness would not be the huge problem it is. Simple solution right?

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

I used to donate to the United Way. But since the big scandal, involving the CEOs abusing their positions with our donated money, I don't. Who can we trust anymore with our donations? It's not that we don't want to help these organizations and individuals, but many of them, we can't trust to do the right thing with our money.

ARRRRG!!!! said...


I don't think I'm a pirate, I know I'm a pirate. Here's my baby picture to prove it.

Anonymous said...

How many suicidal party incidents during each of the graphed years?

Steve said...


I hope you didn't try to conceal that saber in your diaper!

Anonymous said...

As an Officer I think a large portion of the increase can be attributed to the proliferation of social media, specifically Facebook. Several suicidal party calls are generated through social media, ie."She posted suicidal statements on Facebook." The vast majority of these calls are false alarms and I've never seen anyone EPC'd over a Facebook posting. I can't even think of a time that a Facebook threat has led to a self admit. Usually when we find the poster, he/she are clearly not suicidal and typically were looking for attention or upset with a friend of family member and trying to scare them. The increase in social media over the last few years should be noted when looking at the increase of these types of calls.