Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Monday, June 15, 2009


I am writing in regards to the article, "Cops as Counselors" (Sunday, June 14, 2009). We cannot expect police officers to have the training of a mental health professional however it is necessary that they be provided some training on addressing the needs of those in crisis. It is unfortunate that because of this lack of training that the potential for unnecessary escalation of crisis exists. It is unfortunate as well to see how dismal the mental mental health system is, which often treats people in crisis as objects, not people. For many individuals in crisis, both police and mental health professionals use force and coercion rather than compassion. I recall in my work with a young man experiencing an extreme state of mind where he had delusional thinking and the hearing of voices. When police became involved, this often made him more afraid and agitated. I sought to connect with him, to build a relationship of udnerstanding, and to join with him where
he was. It took patience, but this was always a more effective means of de-escalation. I suggest that there be a team of individuals to accompany police to crisis calls, people who may be familar with the person in crisis as well as those with an appropriate level of training in dealing with crisis. Some may argue the inherent cost of such a program, however I think it would be a huge investment in people's lives and offset the expense of unncessary psychiatric hospitalization. Lastly, I must comment on why the author of this article chose to interview NAMI representatives as spokespeople for distressed persons. This organization purports to be an advocacy group for the mentally ill however after Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa requested information from this organization, it was learned that they receive vast funding from the pharmaceutical industry. This to me, makes them a spokesperson for that industry, not the true needs of those in distress.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

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