As protests against racism and police brutality toward the Black community continue, the conversation about the intersection of mental health and public safety has been pushed to the forefront. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, people with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by police in an encounter. Statistics like these make it clear that there is a desperate need for more mental health services in our communities.
Police reform advocates have supported redirecting funds for police to community outreach and response programs, many of which suggest creating mental health response teams, composed of licensed professionals, to address and de-escalate situations without the need for law enforcement. Several states and municipalities are reevaluating their budgets and proposing legislation that has the potential to make significant progress in ensuring that people experiencing a mental health crisis receive directed, situation-appropriate services from trained professionals.
NBCC is committed to ensuring that counselors are not left out of these conversations and are afforded opportunities to participate in new programs. The road to reform will be long, and we want to make sure that counselors, along with other mental health professionals, are equipped to help transform the system into one that can provide justice for all.
If you want to be a part of the conversation to advocate for counselor inclusion in these anticipated changes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.