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Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released a statement on the Jan. 10 killing of Patrick Warren Sr., 52, of Kileen, Texas, from its CEO, Daniel H. Gillison Jr.:
“The killing of Patrick Warren Sr. is yet another senseless, preventable tragedy. NAMI’s hearts are with the family and loved ones of Mr. Warren and all those who experience losses because of our nation’s unacceptable current approach to managing mental health emergencies. A person should not lose their life because they are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition or are in crisis.
When a mental health crisis happens, it deserves a mental health response. The lack of this response in Mr. Warren’s case led to the death of yet another unarmed person in crisis. This situation is yet another tragic example of racial inequities because Mr. Warren was a Black man in America — and Black men already face discrimination proven by hard statistics on interactions with police officers.
The lack of access to mental health care is clearly contributing to people experiencing crises — many of which are inherently avoidable if people get the right care at the right time. We should not have to wait until somebody is experiencing a crisis to try and get them help. It is not good for the person. It is not good for their family. It is not good for the community.
Last year, federal adoption of 9-8-8 as a three-digit number for mental health, substance use, and suicidal crises, which will be effective nationwide by July 2022, provided a path forward which, if well-implemented, could stop these tragic situations. NAMI is advocating for state and local 9-8-8 crisis systems that combine well-trained crisis call center hubs with behavioral health mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization programs.
We must remain focused on solutions that will prevent the deaths of people like Mr. Warren, Walter Wallace Jr., Daniel Prude, and too many others, and get people the care they need and deserve.”
Read more: NAMI’s resolution against racism, NAMI’s statement on acts of racial injustice and Gillison’s STAT op-ed on diversion. You can also view recent “Ask the Expert” webinars that discuss the intersection of race and mental health.