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CMHA Ontario CEO responds to police interactions with individuals living with mental illnesses

December 20, 2013

The public wants better outcomes when it comes to police handling situations involving those with mental health issues, CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville told the Canadian Press.

 

“I think we’re at a turning point, I think what these situations this year have really demonstrated is that the public demands that we do better Quenneville said.

The story highlighted high-profile cases of police interactions with people experiencing a mental heatlth crisis. It was also an opportunity for Quenneville to stress the misconception that people with mental illnesses are violent.

“There’s nothing to suggest there’s a link there,” said Quenneville, adding that statistics show those with a mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators. “These situations, although they’ve had a lot of attention, are very rare. There are many family members who rely heavily on police to help them in crisis situations.”

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is in the process of reviewing training provided to police forces across the country with plans to make recommendations. The Commission and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police are working towards hosting a conference to take a more in-depth look at how police can alternately handle situations with those who have mental health issues.

For more information, read the full article from the Canadian Press here.

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