Mental health in the valley: caught between criminal and patient | News, Sports, Jobs

Mental health in the valley: caught between criminal and patient | News, Sports, Jobs

Liberty Patroller Jim Marco demonstrates the procedure for “slipping pink” on an individual. Staff photo / R. Michael Semple

People experiencing a mental health crisis often intersect with the criminal justice system, and although efforts are made to increase the availability of mental health services, observers say existing systems are still lacking.

When people with mental health issues are involved in the justice system, this can often occur during an episode involving crisis behavior. Or, the person has a repetitive history of similar behavior.

Sometimes the behavior itself is not criminal, but sows alarms among family members or bystanders who have few options but to call for. police or an ambulance; other times, the behavior leads to criminal acts.

When police and people with mental illness interact, …

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