Ben Chapman: One thing that everybody can do to help people with mental health problems is to challenge the stigma surrounding them.
Rosemary Jenkins: Studies have shown that incarceration for the mentally ill only exacerbates their health problems. Commonly, jailers and the medical staff are insufficient in numbers and are generally inadequately trained to handle the very distinct, unique, and discrete problems of this class of inmates.
Diversion programs direct people with mental illness who have been arrested or are incarcerated for non-violent offenses to effective community-based programs that combine treatment with supportive housing, as well as medication management and employment assistance.
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac and Diana Zuñiga: While the Sheriff’s Department must vastly improve the ways it deals with the mentally ill in jails, no new facility and no new management is going to make sheriff deputies into therapists.
Andy Love: In a sworn statement in support of clemency, a psychiatrist noted that “Rhoades’ genetic and social history created a perfect storm of risk factors for drug addiction.”
Sherwood Ross: If you want a glimpse into the soul of a nation, visit one of its prisons. California is no exception. It’s typical.
Sikivu Hutchinson: The mental health crisis amongst African Americans is a devastating indicator of racial and social inequity, of which the prayer as therapy epidemic is an insidious symptom. Frederick Douglass once wrote, “I prayed for twenty years and received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” What would Douglass, a trailblazing male feminist, have made of the brutal ironies of twenty first century black America?
Sikivu Hutchinson: In America being a macho man and a professional homophobe is big business, one that jeopardizes the lives and mental health and wellness of thousands of gays and lesbians. Regardless of whether the allegations against Long are true or not, his prosperity gospel of gay-bashing and robber baron profiteering at the expense of poor black people is another indictment of the moral injustice that happens on “God’s” watch.
Jules Siegel: All in all, let us say that love leading to good works is not necessarily a doomed course; and doomed or not, is good in and of itself. Even if it doesn’t always work out, it is better than hate leading to evil works. And I suppose that is what keeps us going against all odds.