The mental health system in the United States is frequently referred to as “fragmented”, a “failure”, and a “non-system”. We now have hundreds of thousands of persons with serious mental illness in our jails and prisons, a figure that is many times the number who are in psychiatric hospitals. And over 1/3 of people, including children and adolescents, who need mental health services are unable to access this care due to lack of insurance or services not being available.
In the wake of the recent mass murders in Tucson, Aurora, and that involving twenty small children and several adults, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor, and Pensions regarding the committee’s hearing: “Assessing the State of America’s Mental Health System.”
The APA called for “a new commission – either Presidential or Congressional – to conceptualize how our nation’s mental health system can meet the needs of all Americans in the twenty-first century.”
The Board of Directors of CIT International strongly supports the suggestion of APA and is hopeful that a presidential or congressional commission will be appointed and that it will include: 1) representatives of first responders experienced with assisting persons with mental illness in crisis; (2) representatives of persons with mental illness and their family members; and (3) mental health providers.
CIT International is dedicated to promoting and supporting collaborative efforts to create and sustain more effective interactions among law enforcement officers, mental health providers, individuals with mental illness and their families and communities.
CIT International Inc. Board of Directors