Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture above is the result of a severe mental health crisis and the individual was sent home with no help.

A Northern Michigan sheriff is making a plea for better mental health resources after a severe mental health crisis led one of his residents to slam their vehicle into a tree at 100 mph after unsuccessfully seeking help repeatedly.

In an open letter to all, Keweenaw County Sheriff Curt Pennala makes a plea while addressing what has been an increasing issue in his county. The issue is not just a problem in Keweenaw County but one plaquing law enforcement across the country. Mental health.

As Sheriffs, we are elected to protect all the citizens in our Counties including those who may be going through difficult times. In the past month, we have transported several people who were looking for help, to be evaluated by our local Mental Health. Do you want to take a guess on how many received treatments? None. When are we going to have a meaningful discussion on the broken Mental Health system in Michigan?
This past weekend Sheriff Deputies came to the aid of a young subject who decided they no longer wanted to live and drove their car into a group of trees at nearly 100 m.p.h. The subject was transported to one of our local hospitals who administered medical care and Mental health was subsequently called in to assess them and decided the subject was not a threat to themselves and was sent home with a “safety plan”.
This does not sit well with us! ~ Keweenaw County Sheriff Curt Pennala

Sheriff Pennala went on to ask his residents to start the discussion locally and to start contacting those in charge. Those discussions need to be happening with our state representatives and local mental health boards.

According to TreatmentAdvocacyCenter.org, there are approximately 4 million adults with untreated severe mental illness. Severe mental illness is the cause of 1 out of every 4 fatal police encounters. It is also the reason 1 out of 5 incarcerated individuals is in jail or prison. Severe mental illness also comprises 1 out of every 10 calls our law enforcement officers respond to.

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