Dr. Stan Kutcher
We hear about horrific situations in Canada when interactions between mentally unstable people and law enforcement lead to tragic outcomes. Less well known are the longtime efforts of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to meet the needs of the 30% of their calls that deal with mental illness. While applauding the efforts of police to adapt, shouldn't we also be looking more closely at policies that are creating the chaos of so much untreated mental illness?
Efforts at improving mental illness literacy in Canada and the U.S. have been hampered by a problematic notion that education about biological aspects of mental illnesses will lead to greater stigmatizing of people with these disorders.
Despite the good intentions of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5 - 11), it's pretty hard to learn some of the most basic information we need to know about mental illnesses. Many organizations, including the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) encourage us to take this week to discuss mental illness, but there seems to be a puzzling assumption that we don't actually have to know much about mental illnesses in order to have meaningful discussions. I'm still looking at the website for links to the early signs of psychosis or any information about schizophrenia.