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People With Mental Illnesses Deserve Dignity, Too

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A while back, I saw this horrific news and I just had to report on it. The New York Police Department needs to find better ways to treat those with a mental illness who are in crisis. I’ve never been so disgusted and angry.

The New York City Police Department is using these mesh “restraining” bags to deal with people who have mental illnesses. The bags are officially called Emotionally Disturbed Person bag. That’s even worse!

When we talk about any other chronic illnesses, we hear about dignity. We all deserve to be treated like human beings. Having a crisis is already scary enough, but this is absolutely traumatizing.

 from PsychCentral wrote on dignity:

Dignity starts with the recognition that a person with mental illness is just the same as anybody else and is therefore deserving of the same rights. That means you can’t take away a person’s fundamental liberties (or their privacy) simply because they’re acting in a way that’s different than ‘normal.’ Being weird — or mentally ill — is not against the law.”

Police need to have better training to handle these situations.

Restraining people in such a way just perpetuates the wrong and unjust stereotypes those with mental illness people are “dangerous” to society. Many people think those with mental illness are violent, but we are not. Most of us are more likely to be victims of violence than anything else. People with mental illnesses are 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement.

More cities are starting to train police in Crisis Intervention. We need more training, though. If you would like to help in setting one up, go to NAMI and see if you can help. Since many mental health hospitals and centers have been shut downThe correctional system has become the primary vehicle for mental health treatment as state mental hospitals and inpatient treatment options dramatically have decreased.

For those of us living with a mental health condition, we are afraid of being arrested during an episode. There are other options. These stories make people scared to be around someone with a mental illness, and that needs to be changed.

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Thinkstock image via lolostock

Originally published: February 24, 2017
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