Police Learning To Recognize, ‘Talk Down’ & Divert the Mentally Ill to Treatment instead of Jail

About 5:30PM last Friday evening (Dec 26) at the Stripes store on Bell St and Paint Rock Rd a VERY NICE policeman came up to me as I was reading the front page of the Dallas Morning News I didn’t intend to pay for, but just picked it up because of the headlines about the possible loss of certain funding for mental illness in Dallas. Having had mental illness myself, I have a particular interest in this topic. Also, I’m involved in helping people who have mental illness, drug/alcohol addictions, or both co-occurring as is often the case, get healed of those horrific controlling conditions, which are actually sicknesses. From my own experience and knowing many others, I know there can be full recovery and healing, especially with a Faith-based structured residential program such as ‘Haven For Hope’ in San Antonio, where many, many people’s lives go from HOPELESS to ‘HEALED and HAPPY’!!  Hallelujah!!

When I looked up and saw the Policeman I started thinking, “Uh oh, I’m reading the paper’s front page on the ice cream cabinet in the store here and haven’t paid for it. But then I thought, as the policeman started asking me if I was ok “No, I don’t think it’s the paper. But what did I do wrong?”

The officer went on to say someone called him because they saw me walking to the store and it seemed I was acting like I was having a problem. (Strange enough to call the police.) Right then I started fighting off the thoughts ‘someone noticed I’m acting like I have mental illness—again! An old self-consciousness (stigma) that I had for a long time, EXCEPT that is long over!! It’s over!! No more worry what people are thinking about me!!’ I refused those ridiculous thoughts.

God healed me of schizophrenia hallucinations, Tourettes Syndrome (‘out of control’ bodily motions, even hitting people, and also uncontrollable yelling, even foul language that had never been in my vocabulary!!) and depression!

I was healed about 12 years ago!! I had been healed but those old thoughts and fears of someone calling the Police ‘because of my disruptive behavior’ in an instant flashed across my mind!

Within seconds I dismissed those thoughts, and asked the Policeman what he meant. I don’t think he used the word ‘strange’ but whatever the officer said he gave me the idea someone thought I was acting strange and that I might need some attention, some help.

I said, “Well, I was jogging, and I move my arms quite a bit” (not ‘as carrying a tray’, as I was once told to do while jogging).  But I knew it didn’t look much different than most  joggers. Then I thought and said “Oh, I’m a Christian and I like to pray when I jog.” Then I laughed, realizing what it must have been, and said, “I bet I know what it was! I probably got so excited about something I was thanking God for and I raised my arms, exultingly rejoicing and praising Him as I was jogging along. I don’t remember doing that, but that wouldn’t be unusual for me. But I’m okay. And thank you for checking on me. And I appreciate someone caring enough to call. Thanks!”

The policeman realized I was fine, said “okay” and left the store. Then I thought “This is something worthy of commendation. That man was so kind, and whoever called was concerned enough about me to call for help.” So I ran out to catch the officer before he left and asked him if there was a way I could publicly commend him and whomever called him, caring so much about me. I asked him if the Police had a Facebook site that I could write a note of appreciation on, commending him for his kindness. He said he thought San Angelo Police had a Facebook site where I could write something.

I said, “Great! You are very kind and I want to give a note of commendation.” He smiled and left.

God will often lead us into helping people with similar problems that He set us free from, using us to show them compassion, encouragement and patiently sticking with them and helping them during their time of working through something, however long it takes. That’s how God is!!   And God has been doing that with me, using me to help those with mental illness and/or substance abuse, sticking with them,however long it takes to overcome.

People with substance abuse, mental illness, or both together, need help to assure them GOD CAN and is gladly WILLING to bring them into full healing of those controlling diseases! Jesus (God) can bring them into having permanent restoration!!

Nothing is too difficult for the Lord!!” (Luke 1:37) who loves us all!!

But for a successful, joyful life, a person needs to know it takes more than sincerely giving your life to Jesus (God). As the Bible says, and more mature Christians know from experience, things such as being involved in a good church, having a time of daily Bible study and talking with your best Friend Jesus everyday, are essential. And in the case of full and permanent healing from substance abuse and/or mental illness, most often a structured residential Faith-based program is needed. It’s important to know it is a fun thing, getting your life turned around not only with the help of God but also with the help of caring people He provides, such as counselors, peer specialist (mentors), teachers of life skills, family relationship help, housing, job training, help with job placement, etc.

And being on the Board of Directors of the Concho Valley Homeless Planning Council this past year (A MIRACLE! Able to help others instead of still being on psychiatric meds, in and out of Big Spring State Hospital, and other mental hospitals, MHMR visits, as I was in the past!) I know God has some big things planned to help the Criminal Justice system in San Angelo, as well as get at the causes of Homelessness, and eventually eliminate them! Greatly reduce and eventually eliminate the cycling in and out of the justice system, mental health system, and eventually end homelessness!

Transformed lives!! Instead of substance abuse and/or mental illness, Purpose and Joy in friendship with Jesus!!   YEAH!!

Here is a very encouraging video of some things to come, (Coming Attractions!!)  that will help San Angelo in a big way, including big help for the Police Dept, all the Justice System, MHMR, people with substance abuse having permanent recovery, and more, including lowering costs!

Five people from ‘Haven For Hope’ in San Antonio came and put on a symposium for us this past November and are continuing to help us who on the Concho Valley Homeless Planning Council.

I originally meant this to be a letter of public commendation for the very kind police officer who responded to the call about a woman who may be in need of help, who even tracked me down, right into the Stripes Convenience store.  And a thank you for the person who called for help for me; it could have been I was really having a problem. And also, I want to thank our whole San Angelo Police Dept, knowing personally and greatly appreciating the few who are in my church; those I see when I visit inmates in the jail; and those who answer my phone calls to the jail, always kind and helpful. And also, I learned much more about our SAPD by hearing Police Chief Tim Vasquez speak and answer our questions about the Police Dept at one of our San Angelo TEA Party meetings, that I am a part of. I was very impressed by Chief Vasquez, including seeing his love for his team of police officers and others working with him, his love for the the people of San Angelo, and also his job, and his great desire to be able to do a good job for us here in San Angelo! I left Chief Vasquez talk very encouraged, but also praying, “God, they need more money. They need a new building. I know You are able!! Please provide them with even more than they need.”

 God answers our prayers!!   Hurray!!                                                                  I believe our San Angelo Police department is great!! I want all of San Angeloans to know—-it’s important!!

When you police, including the Police Chief Tim Vasquez, have a little time, do watch this video about how the recidivism rate has gone way down in San Antonio and also greatly lowered costs!!

This particular video is from what is now being used as a nat’l model to help restore towns and cities throughout America, ‘Haven For Hope’ in San Antonio; but it doesn’t go into telling about the residential rehab/restoration center whose holistic program is used to wonderfully turn people’s lives around. Instead it has a focus of the Police’s role, emphasizing the great value of training police officers as to how to handle the mentally ill in a crisis or even when they commit misdemeanors and diverting them into mental health court, usually leading to court ordered holistic treatment that works, instead of cycling in and out of the criminal justice system, and in and out of mental hospitals. It talks about training for Police officers in diverting drug/alcohol abuse problemed people into detox centers and into specialty courts which then leads them into treatment that works! ‘Evidence-based practices!’  Through good Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) the police learn to divert both those with substance abuse problems and also those with mental illness away from the criminal justice system altogether, if possible.  It also goes into how the Police are saved time through the collaboration of various related services, for instance their ER time with a mentally ill offender, or someone who needs detoxed, often goes down to 15 min instead of 45min to an hour, or more. And money is saved to put toward other things!

I know you will enjoy this video!

(All of this would be with the Police Dept agreement; just in case Chief Tim Vasquez doesn’t know about this yet)

Thank you!!

With Jesus’ Compassion 4 America! (& the world!!)

Love, Soteria Allen (& Jesus!!)

My little blogs (but BIG God!):

www.Jesus2013Compassion4America.wordpress.com

www.Jesus1000Compassion4America.blogspot.com

 

Jesus Loves YOU!!

**********************

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