West Fargo police had repeated encounters with a man whose mental illness caused him to cycle in and out of custody and treatment. Over a recent 18-month period, officers dealt with him 24 times. The longest gaps were periods when he was hospitalized or in treatment.
Colter Dallman was 21 years old and attending North Dakota State University when he came home acting suicidal. His mother, Carolyn Woodruff, of Beulah, N.D., drove him back to Fargo, where he agreed to admit himself into a hospital for treatment. But, she said, “he was very, very ashamed and very afraid of what other people would think of him.”
There are three words that directly relate to recent tragic happenings in our nation. The words are “least restrictive environment,” and once they were written into law, they dramatically changed public policy regarding individuals with serious mental illness.
Psychologists and psychiatrists have been working for decades to try to figure out whether there's a link between mental illness and violence, and if so, which people are likely to act. Using an ever-changing tool kit of theories and questionnaires, they've made some progress.
While a small number of people with mental illness commit acts of violence, the difficulty of securing treatment and ensuring it is successful — and the catastrophic consequences of failure — are common threads that often link such outbursts.
Carla K. Johnson and Patrick Condon
, October 01, 2012
A Grand Forks woman convicted in an unusual case of stealing neighbors’ checks from their mailboxes but who escaped incarceration because of her mental illness was in court Thursday, trying to get her special probation lifted.
Brittany Hoffman knows the struggles of living with mental illness first hand.She has been dealing with depression and anxiety since she was a pre-teen. But she also knows what it’s like to watch a family member struggle with a mental health disorder.
The Eden Prairie man was found not guilty of first-degree murder by reason of mental illness after drowning his baby in a laundry tub in 2010, but before then, he hadn't shown any signs often associated with a mentally dangerous person.
Roger Lloyd Zimmerman was in a treatment program that eventually tries to get "mentally ill and dangerous" patients to the point that they can return to their home community. The only alternative to that effort is lifetime confinement for the mentally ill, St. Peter (Minn.) Police Chief Matt Peters said. "For society, the bigger question is, do we want to warehouse people for the rest of their live?" he said. "If these people are ill - in this case, mentally ill - the premise is that they're treatable. That's not going to be possible in every case."
Having a 36-year-old son who believes he is God has taken a toll on Sue Hanson.
If she calls police in Maple Grove, Minn., to take him to a hospital, her son might not believe that the officers or their bullets can hurt him. When he is left alone, he might wander away, believing he can make it to another planet.
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