His son was suffering from a mental health crisis and was threatening people in a Gainesville neighborhood with knives
GAINESVILLE, Georgia – A mother who called 911, hoping to get help for her son, said he was suffering from a mental health crisis and threatened residents of a neighborhood in Gainesville with knives. She wanted someone to respond and transport him to a facility for help. However, the 911 dispatcher told him they couldn’t do that.
Her son ended up being shot by a neighbor. The shooting rocked the Shades Valley Lane neighborhood, but moments before 911 calls revealed the mother had tried to get mental health resources to the scene to help her son.
“My son, he’s a paranoid schizophrenic, and he walks around the parking lot with two knives and stuff and talks about killing people,” she said.
Neighbors reported the suspect brandishing knives, walking with his eight-year-old son, damaging cars and property and asking people to kill him. Police said a resident shot the man after chasing him to medics. The suspect survived and was taken to hospital, where he was last in stable condition.
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The 1013 form requested by the mother is a legal document that signs transportation to an emergency residential facility so that someone struggling with a mental health episode can get help. Anyone who poses an imminent danger to themselves or others is eligible, but 1013 forms must be completed by authorized licensed clinicians.
Licensed Professional Counselor Tami Brown has over 20 years of experience as a clinician, advocate and life-spanner in helping behavioral health situations. She said a quarter of Americans have behavioral health diagnoses, which she says can be just as common as physical health issues.
“We want to make sure people get appropriate treatment in the least restrictive way possible,” Brown said. “In a perfect world, we would want our licensed clinicians always on hand, anyone to help defuse a situation. What we don’t want is a bunch of 1013s being signed because people don’t understand people from other cultures, because that can get a little ugly.
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Brown said there were also not enough psychiatric hospitals or crisis stabilization units to send 1,013 patients, so sometimes patients can be sent to hospital emergency departments.
Hall County 911 said it was not authorized to issue a 1013. Gainesville police said Monday in this specific case there was no time before the shooting to ensure the scene was safe and to send a licensed clinician.
“I think it varies by situation, agency and policy,” a Hall County 911 spokesperson said. who call to say they have signed 1013 papers in hand and in other situations, responders have transported people to a medical facility for a 1013 assessment based on what is happening or has happened at the scene. We are simply responding to units to assess the situation and manage it in accordance with their policy/procedure.
“As a rule, 1013s should be done after a medical examination by a licensed professional,” a Gainesville police spokesperson said. “We are one of the few agencies that has a co-responder program with licensed clinicians on the front line who can get them on a 1013. In this case, there was never a time before the incident. of the shooting. Unfortunately, this is part of the program to ensure the scene is safe before clinicians arrive.”
Brown said people can call 988 for behavioral health emergencies, while 911 should be called for more criminal scenarios.
“Any time there’s a behavioral health situation, it doesn’t mean there’s a crisis,” Brown said. “We don’t know anything about behavioral health if we’re afraid to talk about it, and again, the conversation about mental health is still taboo. It’s getting better, but it’s still taboo.”
Brown credits 1013 forms and co-respondent programs, where police answer calls with licensed professionals, for de-escalating tense situations. She said research, education, training and talking more about behavioral health can lead to fewer long-term violent outcomes when responding to mental health episodes.
“We can’t keep calling the police every time we see someone who doesn’t look like us or seems a little more agitated than beyond our comfort zone, can we? We have to educate ourselves,” Brown said.
Gainesville police say a clinician responded to the hospital to help the suspect. Investigators said that upon release, the suspect will be charged with attempted felony murder, two counts of obstructing an EMT, aggravated assault and weapons. Police say the man wielding the knives is the only one charged in the case so far as the investigation continues.
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