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I'm currently dealing with a huge system breakdown in regards to mental healthcare in conjunction with policing in Multnomah and Washington counties. My brother (age 21) in the last 6-8 months has experienced symptoms of psychosis and at times has refused treatment due to his paranoya, which is a symptom of the psychosis. (Technically he is not yet diagnosed with a specific mental illness.) He is currently in county jail and we (his immediate family) are unable to get him the help he need, possibly a civil commitment, due to the the law enforcement's inappropriate response to his mental state. When he has been eligible for a civil committment the police and the mental health professionals from Wa. Co. are called. When the police responded and are requested by my mother or by his mental health providers to have an evaluation done the police (Portland and Wa. Co. Sherif) refuse and arrest and booked him instead. As I see it the major problem is in the police system. Because in my brother's case as soon as the police become involved the possibility of a mental evaluation goes out the window and because of that my brother sits in jail without the proper help or support from a mental health practitioner. I'm not sure exactly how this can change, but maybe we need to start by looking at both the training and the ideologies that the law enforcement in our community hold before real positive change can happen.
posted 3 years, 1 month ago
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