Buffalo, NY- Social Workers and Mental Health Advocates Write Open Letter to Mayor Brown to Oppose New Crisis Mental Health Services Policy.
Local social workers and mental health advocates have written an open letter to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Common Council in opposition to the use of social workers with and/or within police departments, an intention announced by Mayor Brown on September 14t h 2020, two days after Willie Henley was shot in the abdomen when police officers responded to a mental health crisis call. Here is the link to the full letter.
Colleen Kristich, a spokesperson for Agent of Change indicated, “ We do not believe that the social work profession...can effectively and ethically work under a system that is so pervasively lacking in accountability without jeopardizing the integrity of the profession and community.”
“Like police, social workers have historically been complicit in upholding and enforcing white supremacy and institutional racism...[we] wholeheartedly reject continuing this harmful legacy, and refuse to be used by unjust systems to perpetuate white supremacy.”
“Police presence during a mental health crisis a actually decreases safety for the affected individual, bystanders, and officers.”
“Mental health is a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue.”
“Twenty-five percent (25%) of police killings involve a person with a mental health issue.”
“The forming of a behavioral health team within BPD is clearly a band-aid approach.”
We demand immediate ratification of Daniel’s Law and creation of a mobile emergency first responder system as well as a Behavioral Health Advisory Council.