Encouraging local law enforcement agencies, psychiatric facilities, doctors, and therapists to purchase and freely distribute Mental Health Alert Wristbands to those suffering from mental illness; commending Ms. Dottie Bailey for developing the Mental Health Alert Wristband; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, administrated by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in partnership with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Association of Community Service Boards, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Georgia, and other community partners, the Georgia Crisis Intervention Team works to ensure that first responders are trained to properly identify and assist mentally ill citizens in crisis; and
WHEREAS, since only 4,103 officers throughout Georgia have been trained in the Crisis Intervention Team Program as of August 2019, it is essential that this program continues so that all Georgia officers and first responders can be instructed on how to safely assist those in crisis regardless of their mental health diagnosis; and
WHEREAS, on December 10, 2015, USA Today reported that Americans with mental illnesses are 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement, stating that almost one in four fatal police encounters involved someone with a mental illness; and
WHEREAS, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has reported that two million people with mental illnesses are booked into jails each year, which accounts for nearly 15 percent of incarcerated men and 30 percent of incarcerated women, most of whom are not violent criminals and lack needed treatment, which often leads to repeated arrests; and
WHEREAS, a simple and effective aid to law enforcement officers and other first responders is the Mental Health Alert Wristband, an inexpensive silicon band with a blue and silver design developed by Glynn County's Dottie Bailey, a Crisis Intervention Team community presenter and certified peer specialist; and
WHEREAS, as of September 2019, 6,200 wristbands have been purchased or donated; and
WHEREAS, the NAMI Golden Isles Chapter and NAMI's headquarters in Georgia strongly support Ms. Bailey's efforts toward making the Mental Health Alert Wristbands more widely available; the wristbands are already in use at many locations throughout Georgia and other states, such as Maine, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the wristbands are a symbol of the bond between Crisis Intervention Team law enforcement officers and the mental health communities they serve, and Crisis Intervention Team officers are encouraged to wear the bands as a way for those with mental illnesses to easily identify safe people to ask for assistance; and
WHEREAS, the Savannah Police Department is implementing a full-time Behavioral Health Unit and has recognized the value of Mental Health Alert Wristbands as an immediate way for citizens in need and officers to visually identify each other; and
WHEREAS, the mayor of Brunswick, Georgia, and the city's police and fire departments have expressed how beneficial these wristbands are in emergency situations, allowing first responders to quickly recognize someone who is in need of medical assistance rather than a jail cell; and
WHEREAS, healthcare organizations that serve the mental health community are also recognizing the tangible benefits the wristbands grant to patients.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body encourage local law enforcement agencies, psychiatric facilities, doctors, and therapists to purchase and freely distribute Mental Health Alert Wristbands to citizens who have mental health disabilities to ensure their continued safety within their communities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of this body commend Ms. Dottie Bailey for developing a simple, creative, and effective tool for helping those with mental illnesses interact more positively with law enforcement officers and first responders.
Georgia General Assembly
Senator William Ligon - Newsroom
Bill Track - GA SR546