Shooting of man by Baltimore police highlights ‘total failure’ of city’s behavioral health response, agency says

Judith J. Mercado

BALTIMORE — After Baltimore police officers shot a man who pulled a firearm while undergoing a behavioral health crisis last week, the organization that oversees the city’s behavioral health services called the current system “a total failure” that needs better integration of mental health professionals with the police.

There is no indication that police dispatchers attempted to connect available behavioral health resources with officers on the scene before they shot Ricky Walker Jr. on July 1, said Adrienne Breidenstine, vice president of policy and communications for Behavioral Health System Baltimore.

“This incident with Mr. Walker highlights a total failure of our two systems,” Breidenstine said. “We need to get police the heck out of there and not even be handling these types of calls.”

The city has two so-called crisis response teams that handle mental health issues, one inside the police department and another at the nonprofit Baltimore Crisis Response

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New Study Highlights Mental Health Impact of Autistic Masking

Judith J. Mercado
Stylish young woman standing near a plant with shadow light
Stylish young woman standing near a plant with shadow light

What happened: A new study, published in the journal Autism, shines new light on the relationship between camouflaging as an autistic woman and mental health concerns, as well as the importance of earlier screening and better support for autistic women across the lifespan.

  • Researchers at Brigham Young University recruited 58 female participants who reported difficulty in social situations and met board criteria for autism

  • Most of the participants reported masking their autistic characteristics often, which was associated with higher mental health difficulties

  • Of those included in the study, 62% reported depression, 66% stress, 67% anxiety and 62% suicidal thoughts

At the end of the day, we want [autistic women] to find inclusive communities who will help meet their social needs and support their ability to function as they’d like to day-to-day. — Dr. Jonathan Beck, study author

The Frontlines

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