Mental Holds Increasing In Jackson Co.

MEDFORD, Ore. – The investigation has just started in Connecticut into why Adam Lanza gunned down all those people. Many questions stemming from this tragedy concern the gunman’s state of mind and brings up the general discussion of access to mental health.

Medford Police say the people they encounter who want to hurt themselves and/or others people are usually suffering from mental health problems. Last year, the number of mental holds was up 88%. This year, it’s not as drastic, but did increase by 4.5%, more than 300 people taken into police custody and then to the hospital.

Medford Police explain that typically, they are having to detain the same people, which concerns them because these people may not be getting the help they need. The Jackson County Health Department said they’ve been working closely with law enforcement and other community groups to come up with programs and services to help.

“Best case scenario, we take them to mental health and they get the services they need and they get their problems somewhat solved, but its interesting that we’re doing this more and more, and our concern of course is that somebody that is in the mental sate will do something rash,” explained Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.

“I think funding for everybody is questionable right now. I think there’s a lot of factors that play into that, I think we have less money that we’re trying to do more with. I think we’re being pretty creative in how we use those dollars that we have,” said Stacey Brubaker, Manager of Jackson County Mental Health.

In the last couple of months, the County Health Department has come up with a program called “Crisis Intervention Training” for law enforcement officers. This training is a way for county officials to work with officers on ways to better interact and identify those suffering from mental health problems.

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  1. Mark Scharff says:

    Of course there are more mental health holds. Insurance doesn’t cover much, if you don’t have Oregon Health Plan/Medicaid than it is difficult to be seen at Jackson County Mental Health. Mental Health Parity is supposed to be reality, but it isn’t, and folks who are presenting with moderate to severe mental illness are resorting more and more to self medicating to alleviate their symptoms; alcohol, pot, benzos, opiates, and lately I have been hearing of folks using even more powerful psych meds they bought on the streets, such as quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel®), so of course this means they are being put in jail on drug holds, forced to go into treatment at the agency law enforcement favors but which is nothing more than a revolving door providing little treatment, forced to see psychiatrists that report everything the client says back to their probation officer, the poor client then racks up more and more violations by their probation officers who work hand in hand with that same treatment agency, the client ends up going back to jail, more forced treatment, stronger violations, longer jail terms, forced treatment, stronger violations, and on and on it goes. When do we stop criminalizing mental health? Provide treatment at agencies that provide real mental health services, stop arresting mental health clients for minor violations, report to their therapists not their probation officers, stop the criminal justice system from access to client’s records other than progress reports and hold treatment providers accountable for client’s progress, not how well they toe the line for law enforcement. If a client does not feel safe they are not going to have a successful treatment episode, they will try and do what they have to do to get through it, but they won’t progress.

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