Saturday, August 01, 2020

The mentally unwell in a time of COVID

He was youngish, bare topped mid winter and masked, although his mask had fallen down below his nose and as his hands were handcuffed behind his back and he could not correct his mask. He was sitting down on a footpath leaning against a wall with two police hovering over him.

Scum, filth on the streets. Needs to be locked up!

I doubt the police would have handcuffed him without good reason. He must have done something seriously wrong but gosh I felt sorry for him. He was wailing and pleading with the police with lots of "please Sirs".

Dealing with COVID-19 is hard for all of us, but perhaps even harder for those with mental health issues.

Judge not.

29 comments:

  1. Andrew, as to the handcuffing, I get the feeling this is pretty much the default these days once someone gets arrested. From the point of the view of the police, if you can do it, why wouldn't you? You know - prevent the detained person from struggling or striking out or even self harming (we are very solicitous about that - cf boat people and our professed anxiety that they not drown). What's devalued in this equation is the dignity of the arrested person.

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    1. MC, there was certainly no dignity in his arrest or detention. Yes, too many police are abused and injured in the course of their duty, and I don't blame them either.

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  2. Even for people normally in relatively good mental health, social isolation is very debilitating :(

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  3. Imagine you have to move during lockdown when every shop is closed except the food shops !! Now the shops are open we have to wear masks now also on the street because the infection rate increased ! Pheww I am really fed up ! I have read your post but had no energy left to comment ! Now it's getting better !

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    1. Gattina, I too am fed up. We have to put on masks as soon as we leave our front door and can only take them off outside to eat, drink or smoke. But we have to do it and act responsibly.

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  4. Definitely harder for those with mental illnesses. Often much harder.
    Many of the services they rely on are limited too.

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    1. EC, I am sure you are right and I could have burst into tears at what I saw and wrote about, no matter the wrongs and rights of whatever he did. I'm afraid I've already written tomorrow's post and noted your absence, when you are clearly not.

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    2. I was absent and missed people SO much. I am now back, and thankful. The crisis line is running hotter than hot with people like the poor man you posted about today. Which has left me in tears more than once.

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  5. Part of the advocacy in the US is to shift some of the funding from police to social workers and mental health professionals, the unfortunate title "defund the police" fails to communicate that many of people need help with mental health and substance abuse, and criminal punishment fails on that need. Take care, stay well,

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    1. Travel, I heard stats on what is spent on policing in NYC against all other services. Quite disturbing.

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  6. Times are hard for many people; the mentally ill must feel it the hardest.

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    1. Cro, I imagine France has reasonable services for those people, but also heavy policing.

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  7. Situations like this are so confronting Andrew, you don't know what happened previously or what might happen after you are gone.

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    1. Quite so Grace. It was very confronting.

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  8. The mentally ill need our kindness and compassion.

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    1. Gigi, most would agree with you.

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  9. Too many police, not enough social workers has been the outcry here. There has to be a better way of dealing with mentally ill people, rather than adding to their terror.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, perhaps if there were more resourced social workers, they would be less need for police.

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  10. So sad, and certainly not an isolated incident. Others have said it better, but we really need to focus more on prevention and treatment, not incarceration. Having said that, the police in many places are in an impossible situation much of the time. We had a case here in our province very recently where an officer was seriously injured because he tried to use minimal force. I expect he's not the only one, especially in these times of so much negativity toward the police.

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    1. Jenny, oh yes. The cops are in a no win situation and I don't blame them for wanting to protect themselves.

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  11. Toronto has allowed the homeless (and many are mentally ill as well) to set up camp in public parks during the pandemic because so many are afraid to go to the shelters.
    It is very odd to set the tents but no one seems to bother them.

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    1. Interesting Jackie. Here they have been put up in empty hotels and motels, but that is going to stop one day.

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  12. I'm reminded of the shirtless young man I saw at my nearest bus stop recently. I do hope "your" young man's please sir's were pleas for help getting home and they treated him kindly once they had him at the station.

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    1. River, I suppose we have to trust the system as there is no other way.

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  13. The Police might not know someone is mentally ill either as it doesn't always show.

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    1. Margaret, yes so often it is not visible but I think in this case it probably was.

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  14. Yes it is hard for everyone but worse for those with mental health problems. I worry about my daughter coping with two hard to manage boys due to ADHD and autism.

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    1. Gosh Diane. I didn't know about either problems with your grandsons. It just makes it all the bit harder.

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