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.