Yesterday in the little town I grew up in a man was being sought by police. He was considered armed and dangerous following a serious assault. This morning an update was issued saying the man had been found deceased. No foul place was suspected.
The comments following this update have my stomach in knots. I am shaking with fury that attitudes like this still exist. One comment reads:
One less on poggy which is not a bad thing..
The day before a national campaign to end stigma of mental health and this is the reaction. Instead of appreciating that we have only the facts the media has described and we don’t know the circumstances of the deceased’s health or well-being this is how the community reacts?
Found dead late last night problem solve
Because a person is dead the problem is solved? I’m sorry, what role did the system have in this? It’s better to have people who may have a health issue die than it is to find a solution? I completely appreciate that a crime was committed and he was declared dangerous but that does not give any single person the right to celebrate his death.
According to the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health’s 2013 Mental Health and Criminal Justice Policy Framework “People with mental illness are over-represented in the criminal justice system… Between 1997 and 2010, symptoms of serious mental illness reported by federal offenders at admission increased by 61% for males and 71% for females (Sorenson, 2010). “
I stood up for the deceased and his family. Not because it was any of my business but because these types of ignorant comments can not be tolerated. They need to be addressed if we are ever going to end the stigma.
X & Y (names removed) those are disgusting comments. No one knows enough about the circumstances of his health. The day before a national campaign to end the stigma, comments like these are unacceptable. No matter the situation someone’s son, brother and/or friend is dead. How would it make you feel if it was your relative you were reading these comments about?
I am embarrassed by some of the individuals of home-town right now. Utterly appalled. Clearly we have a long way to go in educating people about mental health. Today I am taking a stand.
I’ll come down off my soapbox now.1