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People With Mental Health Issues More Likely To Be Killed By Police

A new report has found that that people with mental illness are more likely to be killed by police than people without mental health issues.

The Treatment Advocacy Center in Virginia released its report on Thursday, according to USA Today. It stated that about one quarter of all fatal police interactions involve a person with a mental illness.

The executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center and co-author of the report, John Snook, said that lack of police training as well as the lack of mental health treatment has caused the situation to be as dire as it is. Many times people suffering with severe mental health issues are not able to get the treatment they need until their actions become worthy of police intervention.

If this were any other medical condition, people would be up in arms,” Snook said. “What we need to do is treat the person before the police are ever called. This is a mental illness, but we respond by calling the police and arresting a person.

Although there is no formal source tracking the mental health of people involved in police encounters, it has been independently determined by The Guardian as well as The Washington Post that 25 percent of all deadly police interactions are against a mentally ill victim.

Using this information, it was determined that a person with mental health problems is 16 times more likely to be involved in a fatal police interaction than if that person did not have issues with mental health.

The reasons for the increased risk vary. Those with paranoia are more likely to panic when they feel threatened by police presence. Schizophrenics may hear voices that interfere with following the instructions given to them by officers.

Unfortunately, police are not trained to handle these difficult cases.

The report suggests that mental health facilities need to be expanded to enable more patients to be treated before their situation escalates to the point of police intervention.

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