To the Editor:
People who are having a mental health crisis should be afforded humane treatment. We are in a time due to COVID-19, where may people are scared, anxious, lonely and isolated. We couldn’t join our families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. People we know have gotten COVID-19 and some have passed away. People who have mental health issues are at an all-time high. Here’s a story about mental health in the future:
Picture this, it’s 2030. You’re walking down the street. You see a man who’s clearly in distress (mental health and/or drugs). He’s walking in and out of traffic and doesn’t seem to be aware of his surroundings. You open up your Social Services app and request emergency help. You select “mental health/substance abuse emergency care” and your location is sent one-time with your permission.
Four minutes later, an ambulance arrives. Two trained, unarmed specialists get out and talk to the man. The man seems to recognize one of the specialists (“Hey, Mike”) and the specialist recognizes him (“You doing alright John? Looks like you may have forgotten your medication. Do you need us to take you back to the group home?” The specialist radios back that the call is calm and no further backup is needed.
John agrees and gets into the ambulance, unrestrained. He gets back on track with his meds and continues his treatment plan. He’s in a trade program and hopes to work as a contractor one day, but his schizophrenia is a major obstacle. He’s making it work, though, and only has six months left before he has his certifications.
This is what public health and safety looks like. We can have this. We really can.