In the last week, there have been two (publicized) fatal police shootings of women whose crime was to have a psychiatric illness.
One was Deborah Danner, a 66 year old black woman living with schizophrenia. She became violent towards police when they showed up at her apartment; she was psychotic and probably felt that she was acting in self-defense.
The other was Renee Davis, an indigenous woman with two children who was also five months pregnant. Davis apparently texted a family member to the effect that she was feeling suicidal, and the family member called 911. The police showed up and fatally shot her, rendering a suicide attempt irrelevant.
Both women were killed in their own homes.
As a woman with a psychiatric condition who is also a mother, and as the daughter and sister of women with psychiatric conditions, I find these situations – and all the others like them which are occurring all the time – extremely upsetting in a very personal way.
Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say about this. I don’t know if I can say anything. This is not the way to handle mental illness.
I don’t love the term “mentally ill,” but it’s a term that people recognize and understand. I’d like to see a hashtag that #MentallyIllLivesMatter. Because they do.