Local mental health professionals advocate for more mental health services
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Mental health professionals across Rochester held a peaceful protest to stand up and bring awareness to the lack of mental health options in the Rochester community following the death of Daniel Prude.
“We wanted to come together to hold Mayor Lovely Warren accountable for what she said about funding the mental health task force to go out into the community to actually address the mental health crisis from mental health professionals,” organizer and mental health therapist Jaime Mahler said.
A peaceful protest was held Saturday morning by local mental health workers raising their voice to tell the community they are ready and willing to step in.
Mahler said Prude’s death could have been avoided with a Mental Health Task Force on hand instead of seven police officers.
“What should have happened if our city had that in place is that we could have come,” Mahler said. “Maybe a couple of us could have come and identified what was going on. If this was a substance abuse issue, possibly bring him to the hospital, give him a warm blanket, show him compassion, and treat him like a human being."
Protesters marched to Strong Memorial Hospital chanting Prude’s name. They say the city failed by not having a team and response plan in place.
“We are trained in this. We know how to approach a human being in need, we have the tactic tools and we have the skill set,” organizer Krystal Schulik said.
Protesters said they are wanting the Prude family and community to know that they are behind them and stand with them in whatever they need.
“We’re all human, we all suffer from something,” Schulik said. “Be it substance use disorder, mental illness, or a trauma. It’s okay to not be okay."
Mayor Warren announced on Thursday that she will direct an additional $300,000 toward the Forensic Intervention Team, which helps with mental health 911 calls in part of an effort to do more to address mental health care.