This breaks my heart! I want, and we should all push for, mandatory training for all first responders to learn about mental illness and how to handle a mentally ill person non-confrontationally so as not to escalate the situation and calm the ill person.
As the mother of a mentally ill teenager, this literally scares the hell out of me that this is a very real possibility – for all our mentally ill children- if first responders aren't trained.
My daughter was physically assaulted by a police officer this past summer, she was 14. Her Bipolar was not stabilized and she was raging and O.D.D kicked in when the officers were confrontational, threatening and authoritative. She was left with a saucer-sized hematoma on her lower back, right over her kidney, cuts on her arms, was taunted, had her arms put behind her and jerked up high towards her shoulders to cause her pain, slammed down on the hood of a police car that had been idling for an hour on a very hot day and told she didn't have Bipolar Disorder, she was just a bad kid. When I said she was mentally ill I was challenged and the officer said "You're not an expert, you don't know!"
We all need to do something to ensure our kids never have to go through what Kelly Thomas did. RIP Kelly.
Oh Melissa, what a horrible story. There must be more CIT training for officers all over the country. My friend Julie, a Chicago Police Officer, has made a huge difference training officers in the metro area. My wish is that every law enforcement, DCFS, and EMT professional in the country would be required to undergo training on handling suspects with mental illness.