Published on AJC.com, by Ellyn Jeager, Oct. 7, 2011.
When is an illness a crime? Would you be sent to jail if you had a seizure, a diabetic coma, or a heart attack? Would you expect someone suffering from one of these illnesses to be transferred for help in an ambulance, or the back of a police car?
If these questions seem silly or unrealistic, ask a person with a mental disorder how they are treated by the police. People who suffer from mental disorders are often stigmatized. Instead of recognizing certain behaviors as symptoms of mental disorders, society often stigmatizes the behaviors and considers people who have them to be criminals … //
… What can we do? First, we must get better educated about mental disorders through programs such as Mental Health First Aid (USA). It is only through education that we will eliminate stigma.
Next, we must invest in good mental health services through investments in communities. Also, we should look at such innovative ideas as peer support teams being made available in the court system and continuing work with our Assertive Community Treatment teams.
It is not a crime to have a mental illness, and it is our responsibility as human beings to help those less fortunate than us. Treatment, not jail, is the appropriate response to mental illness.
Links about Education:
Mental health first aid on en.wikipedia;
Tracking student suspensions – by teacher, on MercuryNews/Silicon Valley (first on Education Report, Kathy Murphy’s blog on Oakland schools), by Katy Murphy, Oct. 7, 2011: a new report written by Dan Losen of UCLA’s Civil Rights Project says a disproportionate number of minority students nationwide are being suspended from school for relatively minor infractions, such as disrespect or threatening behavior …
Educational Resources from UCB Libraries GovPubs;
UNESCO Institute for Statistics: International comparable statistics on education systems;
Planipolis: a portal on education plans and policies;
and on en.wikipedia.