I try to keep my woke-ness in check. But seriously. SERIOUSLY. If you work in public service roles such as healthcare or law enforcement, and someone is having a good ol’ public freakout of one variety or another, you should absolutely, 100%, hands down, refrain from calling them crazy or say things like “Stop it with that crazy stuff."
You might not mean it in a harmful way, but there are nearly six million Americans who suffer from bipolar disorder, and at least as many with autism. And those are just two out of a diagnostic manual two inches thick of mental health-realted disorders (which also includes substance abuse disorders- we’re not going to argue personal opinions about whether or not addiction is a disease- our medical community agrees it is, at least on some level).
If you’re in a position where your job is to literally to help the community, that sometimes means you’re going to deal with people in the midst of a crisis. Most people with mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism pose very little risk of violence, BUT they frequently have difficulty regulating emotions, and something that might seem minor to you may be causing their brain to set off alarms. And you’re literally never going to de-escalate a crisis by telling said person to stop acting crazy.
We’ve had a few crisis situations that involved cops over the years, and honestly, most of them have not been negative experiences. Stressful, last result experiences, yeah, but they’ve never ended with a cop tackling this kid in the middle of a freakout. I think most LEOs will straight up tell you that this is not something they’re well trained to deal with, and their job is law enforcement, not crisis management. It’s highly recommended that you go through the health system if possible, but that’s just not always an immediate solution. I appreciate that they acknowledge this, and I especially appreciate the agencies who are listening to the public cries for reform that involves crisis response training and teams who specialize in substance abuse and mental health. (See link below re: Carrollton Police Department – Georgia recently receiving a crisis response grant, and my sister mentioned just this morning how much focus a local LEO has put on mental health-related issues in Haralson County as Sheriff.)
But damn. As much progress as we are making in this area, it’s just that much more frustrating when someone DOES say something like this. So, yeah, just don’t. Keep it professional.