Public Safety Meeting Presentation: “The Intersection of Public Safety and Mental Health”

Last night, for the first time in many years, I spoke in public. This was at a local public safety meeting coordinated by my State Representative, Larry Lambert, a fine human being. Also present were representatives of our local first responders, as well as our State Senator, Kyle Evans Gay. When it was my turn for the floor, I spoke for just under 3 minutes:

As a person with a mental health diagnosis, I’m particularly interested in the intersection of public safety and mental health. As the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study shows, there is a shockingly high correlation between Adverse Childhood Experiences and all social ills, including violence and criminality.

Adults traumatized as children are especially vulnerable to harm from uninformed responses, as I have experienced on multiple occasions mysekf. Even the mobile crisis unit caused me more problems than it resolved.

As a person with severe Complex PTSD from extreme childhood abuse including trafficking and a year of abduction and torture, I cannot ask for help without recognizing the potential for great harm any time I interact with a public safety representative, doctor, nurse, therapist, or psychologist.

When trauma survivors ask for help we are often put directly on the trauma train to Rockford or Dover, true cuckoo’s nests owned by Universal Health Services, America’s largest mental health hospital chain, notorious for patient abuse.

If you send me or convince me to go to the ER or Rockford, you will be turning me over to places that are not equipped to help me and actually will cause more harm. That’s how it is in Delaware and in America.

The mainstream medical system’s standard treatment for PTSD is Black Box medications and talk therapy that often re-traumatizes the survivor. This treatment nearly killed me 4 years ago after I asked for help with developmental trauma, which is the number one health crisis in the world.

This so-called healthcare system is actually stacked against trauma survivors. It clings to the archaic and increasingly disproven biomedical model while it greatly ignores the MASSIVE developmental, psychosocial, and neurophysiological components of mental health.

If I end up at the hospital again I will again be deprived of my rights, strip-searched, abused, neglected, and drugged. I will receive no individual therapy, only mostly really crappy group therapy and even worse food, in a roach-infested building where the employer pressures the employees to abuse patients. This is widely known. BuzzFeed News did an investigative report about it years ago and it’s still happening.

Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us. If responders offered a listening ear instead of assuming they know what to do, they can significantly reduce the number of fatalities and jail time for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Wilmington is Trauma City. As first responders, you are often exposed to potentially traumatic experiences. We need you to take care of your mental health and each others’. We need safe connection above all.

PLEASE: do everything you can to avoid sending us to the ER or the mental hospital. Neither of those places is equipped to actually help trauma survivors.

For more information, including about the Neurobiology of mental health, visit my public service website, TraumaAwareAmerica.org or follow my hashtag #TraumaAwareAmerica

Thank you for your consideration.

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