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What type of impact do the mentally ill have on your job


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  • What type of impact do the mentally ill have on your job

    What is the impact on your job having to deal with the mentally ill?

    I know in my state there are more and more facilities closing due to budget cuts, no funds etc... the remaining facilities are running at full capacity with not enough beds to go around. With no other place to go, this population now becomes, in most cases, your problem. I am just curious as to how much of your time is spent dealing with this population and how do you feel this impacts the rest of your duties.

  • #2
    Not a whole lot of impact. It's on the rise, but our department has been able to handle the calls for service thus far. We're getting better at dealing with EDP's (Emotionally disturbed persons). Other than that, things haven't changed.

    Kinda a different perspective than most of the guys on here, but hopefully you find it pertinent to your question.

    I work for the Army, which means we circumvent a lot of the problems that most LEO's deal with. It's a controlled environment, a controlled population, and many problems that arise from having to enforce law and order in a mixed basket of whoever happens to find their way to your jurisdiction are a non-issue (Criminal trespassing ftw!).

    For the most part, the people I deal with are here for a reason and generally have adequate support to maintain family cohesion to some extent. Unless you're a special dependent, chances are that if you're an adult, you work on my jurisdiction. If you don't and are not a dependent, you're not allowed, more or less. Children and families are here as well, but again, there are few deadbeat dads. These guys and their families are here because this is where they work. If the family unit breaks down, say they get divorced or whatever, then that family goes away after a period of time. Very different than say, in an inner-city, where neighborhoods can spiral downwards all the way to the bottom.

    It's happened in the past where we've found indigent, possibly disturbed individuals on our jurisdiction. We call the -real- cops and social workers to deal with 'em. But from the level of a grunt out there in the field, my sole objective is to keep him from hurting himself, damaging government property, and getting him outta here. It's more or less the same course of action if the person isn't indigent/distrubed. Once that person has been handed off, it's really not our concern.

    If the state can no longer afford to keep him housed in a homeless shelter or asylum, the subject may become a recurring problem. If that's the issue, I can really see only one of two things happening. Either they just make me continually pass him off to the local cops, who let him go, and then I catch him doing it again ad infinitum. Or the prosecutor tries to get him locked up for awhile. Not really solutions, but hey, band-aids are cheaper.

    One side of the mentally ill that I am dealing with increasingly are the soldiers coming back with PTSD. This is becoming more problematic due to the nature of the afflicted. They're generally in good shape, have access to weapons, and are trained in their use. Just got problems is all. When they breakdown, it gets a little hectic. There are all kinds of incidents that I could go into, but I think you can use your imagination.

    Unlike the indigent mentally ill, these guys are ours and we try to take care of them. If the unit can't set up suicide watch, we'll do it. We get the call and deal with them like EDP's. Get the weapons away, segregate 'em, and wait for the head shrinks to provide further guidance and do their thing. Some get out, some get the help they need and you see 'em around from time to time. Course, when they do something criminal, we generally don't have a whole lot of latitude when it comes to dropping the hammer on 'em.

    As it stands, we're dealing with EDP's fairly regularly. Mostly soldiers with the aforementioned issues. Certainly getting a little more comfortable with crazy. Heh. First time I ran into 'em I was extremely lucky my partner had a better idea of what to do than I. Where I work we're generally not pressed too hard with critical tasks all the time. If we get one of these calls, we generally drop what we're doing and rush in to back up the primary responding officer. Overall I think that, though what these people are going through is tragic, having a weekly EDP call is better for the department. Keeps us on our toes and builds up our officers' base of experience.


    • #3
      The worst effect is when they get promoted, especially to high rank, like ASAC and above for us.


      • #4
        I deal with the mentally ill fairly routinely. I was late getting off on my birthday because of a suicidal subject hanging themself. I also have a couple of 'group homes' on my beat, plus a pysch ward and a crisis center.

        They generate a lot of calls for service and there are no real resources to get them back on their feet from what I've seen. I've done an immediate detention on the same paranoid subject twice in one shift...
        I miss you, Dave.


        • #5
          Run in to them all the time. Normally they are either loitering or are suicidal. Medication is normally the problem, the lack there of anyway. They stop taking their medication for "x" number of days and sh$# hits the fan.

          In my experience (a lot with mentally ill) the majority don't cause problems, they just need help.

          It is a issue that is growing, due the lack of understanding of the general public/politicians who provide funding for mental health centers.


          • #6
            The mentally ill can be a huge part of any given day. You always have your regulars in a district. They can take a huge chunk out of a day when they are on a roll. the other thing We are starting to deal with is PTSD (large, very Large military population). I'm curious to see how it winds up over the next few years.
            The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.


            • #7
              It's fun to transport a mentally disturbed homeless person who just soiled his pants


              • #8
                More info required...

                Originally posted by TMax View Post
                What is the impact on your job having to deal with the mentally ill?

                Mentally ill as in fellow officers, or members of the community??
                "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm" -George Orwell

                "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing diapers." - Blues Brothers


                • #9
                  It's only another 4 to 10 hours at the emergency room waiting for a mental health professional to arrive to do an evaluation.

                  Not a huge deal considering by the time I get them to the hospital, I'm already near the end of my shift every single time :P
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