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Today, NAMI, in partnership with CIT International and other national organizations working in mental health and policing, released an open letter responding to President Trump’s June 16th executive order, “Safe Policing for Safe Communities.” The order is the Administration’s response to the recent national outcry for police reform, following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Addressing several areas of policing, the order also includes a focus on providing resources to law enforcement agencies to assist with responses to mental health, substance use disorder, and homelessness.
In response, the letter stresses that the President’s action does not go far enough to reduce the role of law enforcement in communities’ crisis response, especially mental health crisis response.
Excerpt from the open letter:
“We encourage the Administration, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other federal agencies to provide leadership and funding to communities across the country working to develop crisis system capacity so that behavioral health system providers are available to address urgent and emergent behavioral health needs independently of law enforcement services . . . “
The letter also highlights the need to address the disparities in the behavioral health system when meeting the needs of communities of color, as part of the overall work to reimagine the role of law enforcement. NAMI also recently issued a statement regarding racism and mental health and adopted a national resolution opposing racism in all its forms.
You can read the full text of the letter here.