America’s Crime Problems Being Fed by a Broken Mental Health System

A homeless woman freezes to death on a city sidewalk. A man with delusions is shot dead by police. A teen in psychosis murders his grandmother. These are all preventable tragedies.

America’s mental health treatment system is broken, leaving those most in need to fall through the cracks. An estimated 8.3 million adults in the United States have a severe mental illness. At any given time, 3.9 million go untreated.

With medication and other support services, those with severe mental illness are no more dangerous than anyone else, capable of leading happy, productive lives. Without treatment, their prospects worsen.

Yet the odds are stacked against these individuals. Our health care system actively denies them care, and we criminalize the symptoms of their diseases.

When someone has a heart attack, an ambulance takes them to an emergency room. When someone is in the depths of psychosis, however, police are called and frequently cart that person off to jail.

My organization is dedicated to eliminating barriers to treatment for people with severe mental illnesses—to root out systemic impediments to psychiatric care. It is a daunting challenge.

– American Injustice

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