Mental health and criminal justice | Crystal Dieleman | TEDxMoncton



the news media often focuses on tragic and violent events involving people with mental illnesses and despite the fact that these events are relatively rare it has resulted in us the general public having an exaggerated perspective of the relationship between mental illness and violence it's also resulted in us having an exaggerated perspective on the risk of being personally harmed by a person who has a mental illness and so tonight I'd like to take a few minutes to provide some clarity about the reality for people with mental illness who've become involved with the criminal justice system so let's start for a minute by talking about what we're really talking about here and first and foremost we're talking about people we're not talking about illnesses and disabilities we're not talking about crimes and criminals we're not talking about patients or clients or convicts or inmates or offenders or consumers or survivors or any other label that you can think of we're talking about people and some people get sick in Canada one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime that's 20% of the population and that means that most if not all of us know someone a family member a friend a co-worker who experiences mental health problems some of these people right who have a mental illness become involved with the criminal justice system but not all of them have committed a crime there's a study that was done in a Canadian city a number of years ago and they were looking at police contact with people with mental health problems and one of the things that they found is that 40% of police contact with people with mental illnesses was for non criminal behavior so that would include say an individual who's walking through a shopping district perhaps acting unusually or bizarrely the people around them are concerned or uncomfortable and so they contact the police the police may come conversation with the person maybe they offer to call someone for the person maybe they offer to drive the person home this may also include someone who is attempting suicide and so someone calls 911 receive care many people with mental illnesses of course are arrested for criminal behaviors some of them or the majority of them are for relatively minor offenses so things like shoplifting theft public disturbances vandalism destruction of property those kinds of things some of those people will go to friends that will be found not criminally responsible and they'll go to a forensic psychiatric facility to receive care many of them will be found criminally responsible and they will face sentencing through the courts however there are people who have mental illness who do engage in violent behaviors however mental illness is not a good predictor of violence and in fact people who have mental illnesses are quite vulnerable and are much more likely to be victims of violence than they are to be violent themselves so if this is kind of a snapshot of the experience of people with mental health problems who get involved with the criminal justice system and recovery is possible what do people need interestingly what people need to recover from their mental health their mental illness is remarkably similar to what they need in order to reduce the risk of being involved with the criminal justice system any further right so here's the list right they need a safe and secure place to live a place that they can afford they need structure in their lives and meaningful activities that they can engage in every day they need gainful employment and a source of income they need relationships relationships with family friends co-workers neighbors they need social connection they need opportunities to participate in and contribute to their community they need the opportunity to determine for themselves who they are and what they're going to do with their lives and they need to be treated humanely with dignity and respect now looking at this list I think most of us can agree that these things are not extreme or unreasonable right in fact these are things that we all need or want for our own lives so what's the problem well that's a complex question there are complex problems we know that there are legislation and policy barriers we know that there is a fragmented and poorly resourced system of services right we all hear about staffing shortages we hear about wait lists we hear about communication problems and problems with the flow of information but situated in that is arguably one of the most profound barriers to people getting the things that they need and that's us the NIMBY phenomenon or the not in my backyard syndrome was first identified in the 1960s and 1970s as the deinstitutionalization movement was gaining momentum and it arose in response to efforts to secure community supported housing for people with mental illnesses and people with developmental disabilities who are being moved out of long-term hospitals so this isn't us and them mentality okay so we understand and we may even have compassion for the fact that people need a place to live but we don't want them to live on our street and we don't want them to live in our neighborhood right we understand that people need jobs and that they need a source of income but we don't want them working in our workplace and we believe that people should be contributing to their communities but we don't want them volunteering side by side with us and in this way we deny people the things that they need the most right they need a safe place to live they need a job they need connections to their community and healthy relationships we exclude people from our communities and while mental illness is not a predictor of violence excluding people from communities is linked to violence so conversely including people in our communities contributes to mental health recovery and contributes to reducing the risk of people re-engaging in criminal behaviors so what power do you have to include people in your community are you a landlord or a property manager is there a vacancy in your building you have the power to give someone a place to live are you an employer you hiring in your workplace right now you have the power to give someone a job are you a volunteer in your community you have the opportunity to provide a connection for someone who may not have any other social connections I'm not suggesting that we set aside our concerns about public safety and I'm not suggesting that we set aside the precautions that we take for personal safety what I'm saying is that we all have a responsibility to the people around us to ensure that everyone has the things that they need resources supports services and opportunities so that together we can be more effective in building healthy and safe communities for everyone thank

21 comments

  1. Personally I don't care if her public speaking skills are bad it takes A lot of courage to talk about something like this.

  2. Im what you talk. I been getting arrested its been so bad that I am a felony but haven't gotten convicted yet so trying to fight my 2 cases. I wasnt being aggressive or use high tone and still gotten arrest I'm still going to court for it and I think my lawyers r trying to use mental illness as my defense so they did a rule 20 for court and right now I starting a program called mental health resources to not let me be convited.

  3. lies lies lies fraud and the system is criminal to make money off the tax payersπŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»πŸ–•πŸ»

  4. It would been better to have had a different name assigned to this Ted Talk, it is more of a discussion on just mental illness and inclusion rather than a relationship between criminal justice and mental health. It was a good video despite the misleading title however.

  5. I Think a Exaggrated Perspective is a false assumptiom, Reality is POLICE REGULARLY and BY ORDERS Shoot and Kill Mental Deranged People, BECAUSE THEY HAVE ORDERS. If a PERSON DOES NOT COMPLY, The are to be SHOT.

    This is going on NOW and it is NOT BEING ADDRESSED!

    THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT in USA is "If A SUSPECT Does NOT Comply after TWO VERBAL WARNINGS, Shoot To The HEAVY BODY TRUNK to Disable the person.

    ANOTHER MURDER TACTIC OF POLICE OFFICERS is to CHOKE a person, YELLING: "STOP RESISTING" knowing that WHEN YOU CANNOT BREATHE YOU INSTINCTIVELY STRUGGLE- It is a PRIMAL ACTION. NO REASON INVOLVED, Cops KNOW this, and DELIBERATELY CHOKE MORE only to "MURDER" a Deranged Mental Patient.

    Crazy People On The Streets are barely tolerated BUT if the ACT OUT & POLICE ARE CALLED; the CALLER is a PERPRETATOR of MURDER, like a Coward, FORCING THE POLICE TO KILL a HUMAN that they find OFFENSIVE!

    Now in AMERICA this is so COMMON nobody gives a damn. RIGHT! I am 76 Years old, I KNOW what I Speak, As a famous philosopher said, "HOW CAN YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR when Your KILLING THEM?"

    I also attribute this Overwhealming Plauge of MASS MURDERING OF HOMELESS MENTAL PATIENTS to the JINGOISM MEDIA USES TO MAKE AMERICAN'S HATE Muslims and Mexicans who Come Here to Seek Work.

    TELEVISION DURING OPERATION DESERT STORM and Geo. W Bush's SHOCK AND AWE was TELEVISED 24 HOURS A DAY, and CORPORATE ADVISERTISERS MADE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from PRESENTING UNENDING MAYHEM and WARFARE to the American People.

    A NATION FOUNDED UPON THE LARGEST GENOCIDAL HOLOCAUST—AMERICA!—100 Million Native People…
    WE CAME, WE SAW, THEY DIED!——–America, Born from the BLOOD SACRIFICES of 100 MILLION HUMAN SACRIFICES to SATAN/ BAAL the GOD AGAINST WHOM ISRAEL fought .

    FREEMASONRY was the RELIGION of ALL the FOUNDER FATHERS, and UNEDUCATED INDIANS were NOT HUMAN BEINGS, said the Great Statesmen.

    So all these little talks are nothing but farting in the wind. There shall not now, nor shall there ever be and LACK OF TORTURE, MURDER, GENOCIDES against Mental Ill People, until the STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL SYSTEM is REINTRODUCED!

    I SPENT 22 YEARS (1968-1990) In and Out of OLD SCHOOL MENTAL HOSPITALS, they are Remarkably Better than SLEEPING ON A SIDEWALK, where some AMERICAN POLICEMAN will come a MURDER YOU for ILLEGAL SLEEPING!

  6. A year later and this is one of the least viewed TED talks. Shows you how badly mental health issues are ignored, thank goodness I live in Canada and have systems to help those who need it.

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