Remember that meme that shows two cops smirking while the text describes a (not-pictured) man having a mental breakdown? The idea is that a man having a difficult public mental health episode requires the attention of law enforcement officers (who are trained to use violence).
Here’s what really happened when NYC tested out deploying trained mental health experts instead of cops to assist people in mental distress.
If the 911 call mentioned a weapon, the cops were dispatched. Sometimes the social workers on the scene did request backup from cops; however, the cops were twice as likely to request backup from social workers.
Are individuals with mental health problems a threat? From the article: “A 2015 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that for people with an untreated mental illness, the risk of being killed by law enforcement was 16 times higher than the rest of the population.”
Early data from an NYC pilot program shows more people experiencing mental health emergencies accepted assistance from non-police response teams. —Insider