by Victor Simoes
Strong communities are a source of vital connection and a sense of belonging — a place of collaborative care where we often seek help and support in times of crisis. When emergencies happen, it can be daunting to figure out where to turn, especially if calling police-involved numbers like 911 or the 988 hotline isn’t ideal.
In this South End Guide, the Emerald has compiled a list of crisis and advocacy groups that offer immediate assistance through emergency or crisis services, legal assistance, and information and support on mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance use.
Continue reading Where to Turn for Help: The South End Guide to Crisis and Advocacy Groups
by Marcus Harrison Green
Content Warning: This op-ed discusses suicide.
The following is an edited transcript of a speech given at the 2022 Reimagining Behavioral Health Conference: Race, Equity, and Social Justice. Prompting the speech was the question, “What does justice look like when navigating mental health?”
Good morning. Thank you for joining me virtually today, or should you be listening to this recording, whatever day you found convenient to play back this speech.
I want to confess that a recent incident made me slightly shift the focus of my speech today. It seemed to provide a stark metaphor for where I think we currently find ourselves at this moment in our history.
You see, a few weeks ago, while walking from my office in Pioneer Square, I passed by what I thought was an empty wheelchair, stained with human feces, and a bundle of blankets in a heap next to it.
Continue reading OPINION | The Banality of Injustice
by Kevin Schofield
Elliott Jaques, a 20th century psychoanalyst, is credited with coining the term “mid-life crisis” in an article he wrote in 1965, though he in turn credits author and artist Richard Church for defining it in his autobiography:
There seems to be a biological reason for men and women, when they reach the middle thirties, finding themselves beset with misgivings, agonizing inquiries, and a loss of zest.
Continue reading Weekend Reads | The Midlife Crisis and White Supremacist ‘Gangs’
by Lauryn Bray
988 has been touted as a way to help reduce harmful police interventions in mental health emergencies, but emergency medical services and law enforcement will be called if someone indicates that they are a danger to themselves and/or others. While some people argue that this is necessary to prevent a potential crime from occurring, others argue that it adds fuel to the fire, as EMS and police are not trained in properly addressing mental health crises. Instead, mental health advocates are encouraging the use of task forces and peer support models for suicide prevention and intervention as alternatives to the hotline.
Continue reading BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Communities Share Reservations on 988 Hotline
by Sumner Swanson Shaner
Fathers out there, let me ask you this: Have you ever witnessed your son slam the front door after a long day of school, crying? Have you been stuck in a stalemate with your partner, fighting a silent battle of who comforts your child? Was it your job to talk to your son, but you found yourself at a loss for words? You aren’t alone. Many fathers feel the same way. Does this sound familiar? You sit next to your son and ask him what’s wrong. He admits he got pushed on the playground at recess and was laughed at for crying. Then you say, from a loving place, “You need to fight back, show who’s boss.” Words that can change your son forever. Words that changed me forever.
Continue reading OPINION: How You Fit Into a Toxic Cycle, and What You Can Do to Protect Your Kids
by Dr. Howard Gale
The Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) began meeting more than nine years ago in March of 2013. This commission was created following the tragic murder of John T. Williams by the SPD in 2010. As we will see below, the number of SPD killings has actually increased by 38% during the nine years after the CPC started meeting when compared to the nine years prior. The situation is even direr when it comes to the SPD killing of people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. This increase suggests that the CPC’s work has done nothing to curtail the worst consequence of police violence and abuse.
Continue reading OPINION: A Simple Change Could Save Lives. Our Police Reform System Ignores It.
by Douglas Wagoner and Nia Franco
The Seattle Police Department has a history of violent responses to people in mental health crises that result in minimal to no discipline for the offending officer. Often, following these shooting deaths, the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) will recommend changes to policies and training. While these changes are necessary, they are meaningless if officers are not held accountable for violating policies and their training.
Continue reading OPINION: Mental Health Crisis Should Not Be a Death Sentence
by Jainaba Jawara and Maryam Shabar
We know that health disparities are a looming threat to minority groups’ quality of life and well-being. Yet, most popular attention on minority health disparities, both in the medical literature and in the public, focuses on racial and ethnic disparities. While these inequities are real and rightfully deserve attention, other demographic gaps, such as those among Muslim Americans, are also important.
Continue reading OPINION: Muslim Americans and Mental Health
by Anita Khandelwal and Mark Stroh
The Seattle City Attorney’s Office has embarked on a strategy that will harm our community’s most vulnerable members and lead to the incarceration of individuals too mentally ill to stand trial. The city attorney should abandon this counterproductive effort and allow service providers to work with these individuals without criminal legal system interference.
Continue reading OPINION: End Harmful and Ineffectual Prosecutions in Seattle Municipal Court
by Kevin Schofield
This weekend we have a pair of studies looking at the impact of social media on both our personal health and the health of our democracy.
Continue reading Weekend Reads: What Social Media Is Doing to Us