Apparent hostage situation at UO ends in arrest
Another dangerous situation highlighting the mental health crisis we and many communities are facing. All too often mental health problems default to our police officers and firefighters as the last line of defense because we have failed to address the problem earlier in the process. We the public are then dissatisfied with the outcome and blame our responders when it is the system we created that has failed. Health and human services, which includes mental health, is a function of county and state government in Oregon, but like our unhoused problem, it is something that effects everyone, and all levels of our government need to work effectively with one another to address this situation. Likewise, our non-profit organizations must work seamlessly and effectively if we hope to bring this problem under control. I know that many of you here locally are thinking, what about CAHOOTS? In fact, I hear many people - with no street level response experience - describe CAHOOTS as the panacea to all of our problems. I agree that CAHOOTS is an important component of our response system and ideally positioned to respond to a band of non-violent or the most basic of medical incidents, but CAHOOTS like police and fire, needs a place to take many of the people they encounter. Otherwise it is like having a good ambulance system but no hospital, or a police force with no jail or alternative facility to provide help. Our mental health system needs a back end to effectively address this problem.