A Different Kind of Force – Policing Mental Illness

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Across the United States, the responsibility of handling domestic issues with mentally ill citizens has largely fallen into the domain of the criminal justice system. More than half of all prisoners are believed to be mentally ill.

911-calls related to mental health have risen 227% since the late ‘90s and increasingly, a significant portion of law enforcement’s time and resources are devoted to handling calls related to mental illness. LINK TO WATCH: http://bit.ly/2GuYfXP

The increased contact between police and the metnally ill over the past few decades has led to fatal outcomes, with at least a quarter of all fatal police shootings resulting in the death of a person with mental illness. Since 2015, at least 1,036 people with signs of mental illness were fatally shot by law enforcement in the US – but fatal police shootings are often underreported and the true number is believed to be higher.


Dr. Mark Goulston, Suicide Prevention Expert, Speaks On Teen Suicide and The Warning Signs

In this moving documentary from NBC Left Field – A Different Kind of Force: Policing Mental Illness – directors Ed Ou and Kitra Cahana spoke with nearly a dozen police officers in San Antonio who are being trained in mental health and de-escalation tactics, as well as responding to mental health 911 calls across the city. The hour long doc explores the complex and oftentimes fraught relationship between the mentally ill and law enforcement in the US.

The film does not shy away from the tough questions that plague law enforcement’s central role in acting as a nexus between the mentally ill, their loved ones and the mental health system, which often fails them. The film is told from three vantage points:


Op/Ed: Adding My Voice and Story to the Many Who Were Once Silenced by Violence

  • The SAPD Mental Health Unit, a model program in San Antonio that seeks to alleviate the troubling status quo. The film offers viewers deep access into the inner workings and personal reflections of the ten person unit, tasked with training the rest of the department in mental health and de-escalation tactics, as well as responding to mental health 911 calls across the city.

Viewers watched as the officers respond to volatile situations of individuals in the midst of mental health crises. The officers are called upon to make tough decisions that will have lasting effects on the people they interact with. Despite their best intentions, the unit has to contend with the limitations of the mental health care system to which they are delivering patient after patient, day after day.

  • Marketta Thomas-Smith is contending with the death of her brother, Danny Ray Thomas, who was shot and killed by a Sheriff’s deputy on a Houston street corner in early 2018. Cellphone footage of the incident shows that Thomas (who was unarmed at the time) was in a state of crisis, waddling through the streets with his pants around his ankles.
  • According to Marketta and her lawyers, Danny was struggling with untreated mental illnesses ever since his two children were brutally murdered in 2016. The film follows Marketta as she seeks justice for her brother and has difficult conversations with her son and daughter about their uncle’s tragic death. The intimate and touching portrait of Marketta gives the audience a peek into the devastating trauma that family members feel when their loved ones are killed at the hands of law enforcement. Was another outcome possible in Danny Ray Thomas’ case?

    Interventional Empathy: A Way to Deescalate Destructive and Self-Destructive Behavior

  • Christopher Remmey’s story is both heartbreaking and infuriating. He is a 35 year-old man living with debilitating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder amongst other diagnoses. He lives with his mother Martha who is his primary caretaker but also the focus of many of his delusions, paranoia and anger. The police are frequently called to their home, resulting in Christopher living his life in and out of jail and psychiatric wards with little to no relief.
  • The audience follows the mental health unit on one such call where they detain Chris against his will and take him to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. But like many other times before, he is released the following morning with no long-term plan for treatment. Fearing for both their own safety and also Chris’ safety, his mother and former girlfriend, Alma, are slowly losing faith that any resolution will come for him.

    Six Simple Steps to Combat The Seasonal Blah’s and Fall Blues

The documentary is available on NBCNews.com/LeftField, YouTube and on NBC News’ apps on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Watch the full documentary from NBC Left Field now

Haute Tease

  • TRISHNA, A Tragic Love Story, From Director Michael Winterbottom

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    TRISHNA, a tragic, ill-fated, love story, highlights the societal struggles in contemporary India while weaving a tale of lovers who try to move beyond the confines of position, cultural structure and boundaries.

     
  • Wilmington, North Carolina, Begins the Slow Process of Recovery

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Tropical Storm Florence, who came ashore as a Category 1, left in its wake unprecedented rainfall, catastrophic flooding, extensive uprooted trees, widespread power outages, alarming toxic spillage, and the shocking deaths of millions of farm raised animals.

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Luke Perry Talks On A Swedish Midsummer Sex Comedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Swedish Midsummer Sex Comedy, the light-hearted journey into an endless summer night gone seriously awry, from Coso Nova Films and Elan Entertainment has recently been released, in the United States, for the Home Entertainment Market.

     
  • Beltway Insider: U.S. Airstrikes Surge; ISIS Targets Three Nations; Hillary Testifies; Trump VP Close; Elie Wiesel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama, in the wake of the recent surge of U.S and coalition airstrikes throughout Islamic State strongholds in Yemen, Iran and Iraq, has announced the airstrikes have also resulted in civilian causality and the death of 116 non-combatants since 2009.

     
  • World News: Stay Tuned For The Next Episode of Brexit, a true British Soap

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The demonstrations of support for pro-European sentiment in London also testify to the fear felt by many Britons to find themselves alone in a world of competition in which Britain would be placed in a weak position.

     
  • LA LA LAND Review - Charming, Magical, Enchanted L.A.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LA LA LAND, from Lionsgate and Black Label Media, comes a delightfully charming look at the arduous process for star crossed hopefuls, courageous believers, in a town littered with aspiring headliners, social climbers, do anything's, broken dreams, and rejections.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Agenda Dominated by World Conflicts; Border Kids/Dreamers; July Jobs Report

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama has remained steadfast in rallying international leaders, as the world stage continues to be dominated with escalating conflicts, to support a global agenda that allows for citizens of the world to determine their own destiny.

     
  • Manhunt for Murder Suspect, Kidnapper James Lee DiMaggio Extends To Canadian Border

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The manhunt for murder suspect James Lee DiMaggio has extended to the entire west coast and the Canadian and Mexican borders, as the child kidnapper has eluded police and capture for three days.

     
  • Row NYC Hotel Review - Perfecting The Art of Hospitality

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Travelers seeking to plunge themselves into the pulse of New York City's famed Times Square area need only book a stay at Row NYC—an independent hotel that prides itself on offering guests an immersive experience in the very heart of Manhattan.

     
  • Celebrity Real Estate News: Songstress Carole King’s 128 Acre Idaho Compound Hits Market

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Perhaps longer than any other American singer and song writer, Carole King has been a favorite of the Baby-Boom generation. Her writing and recording career began in 1958 at age 16 writing hits for a wide range of performers from Bobby Vee and Tony Orlando to Aretha Franklin and the Drifters.

     
  • Children’s Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Brunch at LIVELLO March 31, 2013

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA.—Celebrate Easter and the beginning of spring with family and friends at LIVELLO, the restaurant at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. The culinary team at LIVELLO offers the perfect Easter Brunch menu served from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

     
  • High Violet Introduces A Wonderful Mixed Bag of Rock, Indie, Jazz/Blues

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    From the London music scene today comes Elevant with a new EP recorded at Abbey Road; Florence Joelle, Parisian Soul, Latin Jazz, think heat set to music, and Anilore, from East Village NYC punk jumped the pond earning rave reviews.  

  • Beltway Insider: Obama/Syrian Policy Failure; Gun Violence; Election 2016; Bill Cosby

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama has returned to Washington from his Holiday and is eager and energized to begin his last year in office moving ahead with the Gun Violence issue he has indicated the intent to announce Executive Order action.

     
  • The Two Faces of January Review – An Exceptional, Superbly Acted, Classic Noir Drama

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "The Two Faces of January," from Studio Canal, Working Title Films and Magnolia Pictures, presents a cat and mouse murder mystery filled with international intrigue, exotic locations, heightened suspense and a web that captures from the beginning.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama/Dems in Philly; DNC Chair Out; PM Slows Brexit; Munich/Kabul; IOC/Russia; Garry Marshall

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama and the stars of the Democratic Party head to Philadelphia to outline the platform for the nation during the three-day convention that concludes with the official awarding of the delegates nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic Presidential Candidate.