The Flow

My issue is suicide prevention. Whenever I think about suicide prevention I think about the opportunities that need to be readily available and accessible to those who are having any form of depression even if it’s mild depression.  Having prevention methods accessible keeps any lever of depression from  manifesting into a deeper level of depression. Suicide prevention month is basically opportunities for people to learn and engage in activities, trainings, and more around suicide prevention. Theses programs and trainings  may be  job related, hobby related, or  just an arena where people can come and feel welcome. People will feel like they belong to something and by acceptance it directly impacts your self-esteem.

I believe that all suicide calls should be diverted from the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s department. I feel as if police are not trying to deal with people who are going through these episodes and they may misconstrue the situation. Law enforcement  might not understand or be as sensitive as somebody who does have suicide prevention training. Suicide prevention training by law enforcement could end up either saving a person’s life or actually getting them the adequate help they need rather than just arresting them or taking them to jail where they’re not going to receive the treatment they require.  They’re just going to be segregated and separated from the community.

Do you think it’s safer for the police to respond or for these calls to go to holistic assistance response teams like HART?  When it comes to deadly encounters, we all know police officers do put their lives on the line. They are the first line of defense when it comes to the community, but with that being said, when they arrive on the scene of someone having  a mental health issue they’re going to have the same approach as they are talking to somebody who is fully competent. They will be approaching the individual thinking the person is not having a crisis.

I feel like it heightens the danger because they may or may not be aware of this person’s mental state. So, I feel like it should be a combination.The program should be similar to the training firefighters have. They are also first responders to any type of accident whether it’s a car wreck or building that’s actually on fire or somebody just passed out.  We need to put HART right there with the firefighters. That way an assessment can be made prior to the police getting involved and people will be aware of this person’s mental state.

I believe the HART program should receive more funding because of the safety alternatives that could be provided. I feel funding should be increased because this is a preventative maintenance type of healthcare.  We can actually prevent mental health episodes that end up with people losing their lives. Because we have this funding for this program and we are able to identify people who are dealing with mental health issues coming in. This makes it safer for both parties, which in turn,  makes it safer for us all.

Written by: Lance Hutchins