Among the saddest realities of contemporary American society is the failure of our mental health system to meet the needs of the many children, adolescents, and adults who need care. Funding for mental health services is in dramatic decline; professionals who can provide help are in short supply; and reimbursements from insurers frequently do not cover continuous care. Moreover, there is often a lack of coordination between various agencies in health, education, mental health, addiction, disability, and child welfare.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6% of the population, or one in 17 Americans, suffers from a serious mental illness. Across the country there is an alarming increase in the number of people with severe mental disorders who in the absence of adequate treatment are coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
Here to talk with me today about the kinds of issues the police are facing when called upon to respond to people who may have sever mental health disorders are Detective Geraldine LaPense and Chief Ron Fissette, both with the Wellfleet Police Department.
The Lowdown with Ira Wood, Tuesdays at 12:30 PM and Saturdays at 5:30 AM on WOMR-FM, a Pacifica Radio affiliate station. Streaming and podcasts on WOMR.ORG.