81 petitions

Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Joe Dill, Michael Barnes, Willis Meadows, Sid Cates, Rick Roberts, Bob Taylor, Xanthene Norris, Liz Seman, Ennis Fant, Sr., Lynn Ballard, Butch Kirven, Dan Tripp, Joseph Kernell

Create a New First Responder Agency in Greenville County

What is ECS?The mission of Emergency Community Services is to provide community based support to improve safety and reduce crime while taking stress off of our law enforcement officers.   Emergency Community Services is a new first responder agency proposed to work in place of LEOs for emergencies that do not need law enforcement presence. The main areas which ECS would handle would be: - Mental Health Crises/Behavioral Calls- Domestic Disputes- Substance Abuse  The Need for ECS Mental Health The former Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, said “Every societal failure, we put it on the cops to solve … Not enough mental health funding, let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we have a loose dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, give it to the cops. 70 percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women, let’s give it to the cops to solve as well. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. I just ask other parts of our democracy along with the free press to help us.” This speech is a microcosm of the stress on LEOs. Ask yourself this: what is the purpose of law enforcement? The only acceptable answer is to enforce laws, mainly those of a violent nature. This is what they were created to do and what they are trained to do, and to expand their responsibilities to mental health, family counseling, and everything else does not work.  A study done by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that when police come into contact with individuals with mental health disorders - 10% of their interactions - are 16 times more likely to not just be shot but killed.  Citizens with mental disorders make up 1 in 4 of all fatal police encounters, 1 in 5 of all jail in prison inmates, and 1 in 10 of all LEO responses (Fuller, Lamb, Biasotti, Snook, 2015). In 2019 in South Carolina there was 16.6 suicides per 100,00 people (compared to 14.5 nationally), leaving us ranked 25th in the nation. In general our suicide rate has been on the rise (   Domestic Violence One of the biggest issues South Carolina faces is that of our domestic violence. A February 2019 article in AP News explains that SC is the “nation’s sixth-worst state.” While it does show an improvement - from being in last place - it is still awful. In 2015 the National Domestic Violence Hotline conducted a study among abused women and police. In the study they found: 4 in 5 who had not called the police were “somewhat or extremely afraid” to call the police in the future (70% thought it would make things worse, 59% did not think the police would believe them, 45% wanted to protect the offender in some way, and 17% believed the police would be violent to them or threaten to or actually arrest them)- 1 in 4 who had not talked to the police would not call them, and 1 in 2 were unsure if they would- 1 in 3 victims felt less safe after calling the police- 2 in 3 who had called the police were somewhat or extremely afraid to call again (80% thought nothing would happen, 51% thought it would only get worse)- 1 in 4 women had been arrested or threatened with arrest when reporting partner abuse of sexual abuse to police- Only 1 in 7 (14%) of women were extremely likely to call in the future - the rest would not or were unsure if they would call (Logan, Valente, 2015). And the sad fact is that these beliefs are not without reason. The National Center for Women and Policing conducted an analysis of studies in regards to police domestic violence rates. Police have a domestic violence rate of 40% compared to the national average of 10%. Several factors have been proposed that attribute to this statistic: - The stress we put onto police while simultaneously making them bottle it up is not something that any person is made to handle- The training of police officers rewires their brain and increases violent responses- Because police are the respondents to domestic violence, families would not be trusting of the police to protect them- The culture of policing creates an environment where it is tolerated and normalized- The personality type of police officers are more prone to violent outburstsWhile the final two are difficult to prove or disprove, the others have significant merit. However as this proposal is focused on introducing a new response unit we will not focus on the effects of training, although it deserves significant discussion in the future.  BenefitsOne of the main goals of ECS is to take much of the pressure that likely attributes to these factors off of the officers. In addition if we change the people who respond to these calls then there is a significant increase of trust from the victims who are married to officers. This then could be yet another step towards weeding out the irresponsible and “bad-apple” officers.   In addition to these the local benefits of ECS are deserving of consideration themselves. Greenville has a lack of psychiatrists which is difficult to combat. However if ECS was to pay our responders (who would likely be psychiatrists, trained therapists, etc) a competitive salary we would increase the influx of mental health professionals. This, combined with things like the reduction of crime, improvement of community support, and the families of the mental health professionals moving in we would likely see an increase in our already high growth. We would provide members of our community with jobs, and could provide a starting point for people who need some sort of workforce breakout.  By intervening prior to a crime is committed (often the crime of mentally ill people is not what prompts the call, but how they respond to the officer) we would keep a significant number of people out of jails, prisons, and the criminal justice system. We would save tax dollars on incarceration, free up court dates for violent criminals, and save money on public defenders to be able to allow them to focus where they are needed most.

Davis Summer
624 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, , Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster

Change the Definition of Suicide

Every day is a tough day to cope with losing a loved one by suicide. Suicide is an issue that touches people with mental illness/brain illness as well as those who face other forms of severe mental, emotional, or physical pain. Empathy goes a long way to connect us to each other - at times when you need help, don't you want others to be there for you? Sign the petition to show that you are willing to fight for the people in your life who struggle now - or who may struggle in the future. As a nonprofit organization that promotes awareness of suicide and mental illness/brain illness and that provides support for those affected, i understand calls on the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to change the definition of suicide on their websites and in their literature, or to add this new definition on their information pages about suicide. Rather than including the outdated, stigmatizing definition about intentionally taking one’s own life, we believe wording should focus on suicide’s tie to severe pain and mental illness/brain illness. The definition should be changed to, “A side effect of pain, the result of mental illness/brain illness, mood disorder, and/or physical pain.” Suicide is often a terminal effect of a mental illness/brain illness. However, you don't have to have a mental illness/brain illness to have suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Anyone can feel pain, despair, or hopelessness. Difficulties like heartbreak, bullying, financial loss, severe physical pain - any difficult circumstance can cause pain. Ultimately, physical, mental, and emotional pain are what lead to suicide. Without pain, there would be no suicides. Thus, it is time to change the definition so that all of these circumstances can be discussed openly and honestly, providing relief and hope for those struggling. Vonnie, the founder of i understand, lost her husband to suicide, and many of our supporters are survivors, as well. We believe that a change in the definition will change the way we all speak. For example, if you ask how Vonnie’s husband died and she answers, “He killed himself,” how does that make you feel?OrIf she answers, “He died from depression,” how do you feel? Likely, the two answers will lead to very different conversations, the second resulting in a discussion about the suffering he was experiencing. We believe it’s important to talk about WHY someone died rather than HOW someone died by suicide. And those reasons revolve around a struggle so deep that the person sees no other way to manage. We need to focus on the mental illness/brain illness or pain leading to the death – the causes and symptoms – rather than the act itself. This will increase understanding and reduce the stigma attached to suicide and, in turn, will save lives. A simple change in language can impact those struggling with their physical or mental health, their loved ones, and survivors of suicide loss. We call on AFSP and NAMI to be the first to make a public move affirming this definition by including it in their literature and websites. We believe this should be a movement across the world in mental health organizations, schools, families, dictionaries, psychological organizations, and social circles. Change the conversation with those around you – you never know whose life you could be impacting. AFSP and NAMI - it's time to take action.  i understand is a nonprofit organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, promoting awareness of suicide and mental illness/brain illness and providing support for those affected. We hold support groups for those who have lost a loved one to suicide and we host free monthly community events. We have partnered with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where we have funded a Clinical Nurse Specialist who educates about mental health in the traditional hospital setting – the first position of its kind in the country. Our nurse works with staff on using proper language around mental illness/brain illness and on finding appropriate treatment for patients. Additionally, we provide care packages for those affected by a mental health crisis at the hospital. Visit our website at or find us on Facebook by searching i understand or #iunderstandloveheals

i understand
10,692 supporters