Bridging gaps between mentally ill and the justice system

Apr 7, 2016 2:28 AM by Darren Leeds

It's been described as a critical problem across the united states, proper help for individuals with mental illnesses so that they can become productive members of society. Crisis care triage and advocacy held a panel Wednesday evening to discuss the ongoing problem right here in Butte County.

More than 90 people came out for Wednesday night's panel, a lot of them saying the same things, getting treatment for the mentally ill rather than incarcerating them.

Lisa Currier with crisis care triage and advocacy says a lot of the folks who came out to Wednesday night's panel are dealing with a family member who suffers from a mental illness and has had a run in with police because of it. Currier says a lot of times when people are incarcerated in the Butte County Jail, they don't have access to the medications they need. She says the homeless need a place to receive treatment so that they don't end up in the criminal justice system.

Currier says, "I think a lot of our street people who are mentally ill would actually be able to go back and be homed once again if they had the proper medication and if they were supervised. We were talking about one street girl who's 27 and has short-term memory and so they might give her her pills at 4 o'clock, but at 9 o'clock she's forgot that even happened."

Currier says right now the Crisis Care Triage has a mobile unit, but it only makes visits to the hospital. She says they'd like to have the mobile unit go out with police so that they can have conversations with some of the people on the streets and see what help they need. The triage team would then evaluate the situation and determine where the care is needed on a case by case basis.


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