Watch “Criminalizing Mental Health • This Is Crazy • Part 1 of 3 • BRAVE NEW FILMS” on YouTube

I am so glad to see this! 

This is a documentary about what happens when mental illness and police intersect.  This is the “weapon” we need, to fight ignorance by means of information and education. 

My personal psychiatrist spends most of his time in prison.  He is a prison psychiatrist.  He tells me that roughly 50% of the prison population have a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis–and he gives me a sardonic smile as he says, “And the rest are undiagnosed.”

Whether or not you agree with that, I’m sure you will agree that beating, shooting, tasering, and incarcerating people who may simply be disoriented, delusional, hallucinating, or displaying side effects of anti-psychotic medicines such as stiff gait and slurred speech, is not only inappropriate and inhumane, but criminal.

If you agree with the message of this film, I urge you to go to the authors’ website and see how you can take action to promote crisis intervention training for police so that they can be trained in methods of de-escalating mental health crisis situations rather than treating them as crime scenes.

This is the first step in a long process that we must undertake, to protect our brothers and sisters who suffer from mental illness from the “justice” system that is supposed to protect us, not beat, taser, shoot, and incarcerate us.

The second step is to hold law enforcement and prison personnel criminally responsible for abuse of people with mental illness.

Currently, police officers and prison guards who maim and kill the mentally ill might get a few weeks of unpaid leave, or maybe even get fired.  But they don’t often get charged with criminal assault or murder.  This has to change.  We MUST empower and pressure our legislators to create a legal code that eliminates immunity for “law officers” who break the law–who torture, maim, and kill.

Please watch the video and share it widely, hit the Facebook and Twitter buttons, reblog this or write your own post, do whatever you can to circulate this effort to get the word out.  The authors have a petition going, and they have the Facebook pages of all the Presidential candidates so we can bombard them with the message:

LET OUR PEOPLE LIVE!

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25 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Bipolar Dance and commented:
    Please watch and read this to learn about the horrifying ways police treat people with mental illness. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. My son is in prison here in Texas. Although he has bipolar and anxiety disorders, I know that when he committed his crimes, he understood what he was doing. However — even if a person has actually done something wrong, they need treatment or they may fall into the cycle of recurrent prison or jail terms.

    My son has been lucky to get into a program focusing on cognitive behavior therapy, but it was only about nine months long. He currently gets no therapy and no meds except Buspar. Mood stabilizers? Antipsychotics? They’ve never heard of those, apparently.

    It will be a long time before he gets out, but he’s in as much or more danger while still in prison. At the county jail where he was before sentencing, the guards tasered a man to death because he wouldn’t stop yelling about his mission to save the world from the aliens among us. If my son ever has a psychotic break, he may lose his life.
    Thank you very much for this post & video. I’ve reblogged it.

    Reply
    • Oh Anita, what a nightmare. I am so sorry. My own son was in danger of going to prison, but I was incredibly fortunate in that he was still underage and I was able to convince the judge to mandate inpatient psychiatric treatment for two years rather than prison. He got treatment for his bipolar and ADD, and managed to stay out of trouble after that.

      Having a mentally ill child in prison has got to be a mother’s worst nightmare.

      Does the prison have a psychiatrist, or just a P.A. or nurse? Is there any way for a parent to contact the treating decision maker?

      Reply
      • There is a nurse practitioner at the prison, but she is responsible for all of the inmates, which must be totally overwhelming because it’s a big prison. Every two or three months a psychiatrist sees patients recommended by the N.P. From what I’ve been able to tell, they don’t allow even family members to communicate with medical personnel. However, I will check that out further because there might be a loophole.
        Thank you for your reply and understanding!

        Reply
        • Good grief, that’s shocking, only one N.P. for the entire facility! A huge need to change that. Given that one out of four of the “general” population uses mental health services at some point in their lives, one could extrapolate that EVERY prison inmate needs mental health care. And the ones with pre-existing diagnoses can’t even get reliable care! Where is 20-20 when we need them?!

          Reply
  3. Wow, I agree with you completely some form of intervention needs to take place!

    Reply
    • Yes, and it needs to have happened YESTERDAY! That’s why we need to share this video widely, get involved, get our friends involved, use our social media tools…Thanks so much for being here and caring!

      Reply
  4. Love this! I wrote a research post a few years ago about making CIT mandatory for law enforcement. Sad to see it still hasn’t happened. Then there’s the major problem of lack of psychiatric resources for the incarcerated and homeless. There are just so many topics I’m passionate about and not enough time!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Steph! The problems of police and prison personnel abusing the mentally ill is not a matter of training, IMO. It’s a culture of power-over rather than power-with. They get a rush out of “shake-downs,” sadism perpetrated on helpless beings. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Until they quit looking for aggressive creeps with histories of domestic violence to hire as police officers and prison guards, no quantity of training will infuse them with a shred of empathy. Truth be known, the entire “justice” system needs to be thrown out and reworked. As it is, child rapists get 7-10 while trafficked drug mules get life. Ugh. Sigh.

      Reply
      • Sadly, you’re right, the whole system is f’ed in so many ways. I wish there was more we could do.

        Reply
        • I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I think there is actually quite a lot we can do, and mostly without leaving our devices. I think the first step is to research whether any bills have been introduced into congress, and if so, and if they are reasonable, do a change.org petition and send it to the lawmakers. If bills for holding police and prison personnel legally responsible for their actions just like other Americans is not pending, then it will be necessary to pitch the idea to key players (I have no idea who those might be) and get to work writing such a bill. I actually do know a lawyer with mental illness who has sort of fallen off the earth, but if I can find her, I know she would enthusiastically help with the whole process. Whew. But it would be so worth it, even to change one piece of that culture of condoned violence.

          Reply
  5. Hi I have selected you for the Sunshine Blog Award, I thought putting in the comments of this particular post might make you giggle a bit 🙂

    These awards are time consuming so anyone that declines will not offend me. If you choose to accept please feel free to copy and paste the badge from the post.

    Blessings for a peaceful day.

    Much love,
    Annie

    Reply
  6. The mental health system in the United States is a crime in process and it has been since the election of Ronald Reagan. We may have had an excuse in the early days of this fiasco but at this point it is common knowledge that we are murdering and torturing the disabled….it is inexcusable and completely strips this nation of moral authority. We think we’re so special because we have the freedom to call ourselves Christian while we invade innocent nations and mercilessly destroy the lives of our own people. Why would anyone want to be Christian like U.S.? We put the worst fascist of the 20th Century to shame and history will not treat the generation persists in complacently accepting the everyday evil of these public executions kindly.

    Reply
    • Well said. I drove West through Oklahoma, and every few miles it was, “Entering Cree Nation….Entering Seminole Nation….Entering Cherokee Nation…” That’s why I get so pissed off at self-righteous people who make value judgements on tiny nations fighting over tiny amounts of land…it’s like, hello….how about repatriating the Sioux, the Cherokee, a whole country full of peoples rounded up and put in concentration camps, in effect…yeah, there is no room in America for minorities and that includes the mentally ill. We are marginalized at best, maimed and killed at worst. I wish I was healthy enough to arrange live screenings of this film and get speakers in for a panel discussion on it. I swear, for us mentally ill people, what’s happening is like a dispersed Stonewall. I just wish it would have the galvanizing effect that Stonewall had, launching the Gay Pride Movement. I know there’s a Mad Pride Movement in Canada. I don’t think I’d call it that, but we sure need an empowering movement.

      Reply
      • Our problem is that we have an illness that affects motivation and by it’s nature erodes our confidence in our judgement. That’s one of the reasons we need to get people in the mental health system to ask themselves the hard question of whether they are content to do continue to participate in a murderous system in the name of j0b security. What we need to do is target the worst offenders with demonstrations — It’s been awhile since I’ve stood in the streets and chanted ‘shame” but I’ll do it if other people will do it.

        Gay Activists were relentless in their demonstrations at the APA and it resulted in removing homosexuality from the DSM and gay activists had even less evidence of psychiatric complicity in the torture of gays and lesbians. Two generations have reached adulthood without knowing that this country once took care of its sick.

        And yes…it could have been done better…but anyone who argues that what we have now is a compassionate alternative is a dangerous idiot. or a fascist with a eugenic agenda…

        Reply
        • That’s a really interesting perspective. I had this huge argument with my therapist yesterday over what she considers safety, and how she envisions a plan of safety for me. Mind you, she has been my therapist since 2001, and we know each other as human beings and friends. She represents the cohort of Americans who choose comfort and safety over living on the edge. I grew up as my artist father’s daughter, where safety and comforatability were seen as weakness, and daring and tightrope walking without a net were seen as really living a life, no comfy chair in front of a t.v. for us. We lived in places that would have horrified my therapist. We had a really good time living on the edge. Yeah, we were crazy, but I didn’t find out that how I felt was crazy until I tried to integrate into “the great society.” I don’t argue with my labels and diagnoses. They help me manage my unpleasant and life-threatening symptoms. What I do resent is the assumption that since I am mentally ill, I am automatically incompetent. It’s this that makes me angry. That’s what makes me want to take to the streets: Yes, I am different than you standardly wired muggles. That’s my brilliance, that’s my light. Y’all can enjoy yer tee vee reality shows. I AM reality. (But don’t watch me LOL)

          Reply
  7. A nephew deals with this. So far he’s been shielded, sheltered (with difficulty) but there have been incidents with police. Training for police is critical – both for police safety and the person in trouble. Society must find a way to provide treatment and appropriate housing for those who’s “reality” slips once in a while or who are explosively violent. It’s easier to scream about guns than to bravely acknowledge the real issue: mental health care here is in crisis and something must be done.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. I’m very sorry to hear of your nephew’s troubles. I hope he gets stabilized soon so he can have some enjoyment. I don’t understand why some people get handed a life of difficulty from within. Difficulty from without can be managed, but chaos of the mind is impossible to handle without compassionate help. Blessings and thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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