Letter: Community safety depends on treating mental illnesses

September 3, 2013 

A Wednesday article saddened me. Wasted lives are hard to excuse. A couple of individuals lived as roommates in a housing project. One ended up dead and the other will be heading to confinement in some type of institution for the rest of his life. Both of these lives have been wasted.

My sympathy goes for the family of the deceased, but I wonder whether or not this could have been prevented. Was the survivor an individual with a criminal mindset and a mental illness or learned the prison mentality in prison? The young man received services but was depressed because of a lack of activity in his life through employment and/or pursuit of his hobby. Couldn't the provider have helped to fill this need or help him through the crisis situation with a substitute activity?

Did the provider understand the risk when these individuals were moved into share the same space? Did they receive full disclosure about the risk prior to move in? How often were they given service?

Without a provider that can serve the full individual, safety of the community and the individuals with mental illness remains too high.


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