Our Unitarian Universalist commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and white supremacy culture has, perhaps, made it clearer than ever that we need to be extremely thoughtful about calling the police.
When someone is having a mental health emergency the people around them may feel at a loss about what else to do. Many times, people in mental health crises will make other people uncomfortable, though there is no real harm taking place. Our own (internalized or not) ableism can often manifest as fear when it is actually just discomfort.
Sometimes calling the police can exacerbate a situation or potentially cause harm. Before calling the police, we recommend ushers, greeters, and other leadership be familiar with de-escalation techniques and alternatives to calling the police.
Resources for Deescalation
- Deescalation Tips from Crisisprevention.com
- 5 Ways to Help Someone in a Mental Health Emergency Without Calling the Police from "The Body is Not an Apology"
- Quick Reference on Mental Health for Faith Leaders from the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness