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If the system shifts away from police as first responders, and towards mental health professionals intervening in someone’s mental health crisis, the public needs to be aware that systemic neglect is also deeply embedded in the mental health system.
For example, in mental health emergency departments and/or community mental health teams, people are turned away because they do not meet admission criteria or when admission is determined to be “unhelpful” to the individual. In practice, the system condones labels to describe patients such as frequent flyers, drug seeking, substance intoxicated, malingering or treatment resistant.
Individuals are discharged or referred elsewhere for “not fitting the mandate” or “being non-compliant” with treatment. Individuals are turned away for being “too behavioural,” “too violent,” “too needy,” “too bizarre” or even “too suicidal” for hospital admission.
When this happens, we must ask broader system-focused questions, including: If individuals are “too much” or