“Spotlight” on mental health services

The Boston Globe “Spotlight” team takes on the failures of the mental health care system in a recent article, succinctly titled “Families failed by a broken mental health care system often have no one to call but police.” The article focusses on issues around suicide, and “suicide by cop” incidents, and points out that in Massachusetts, where the suicide rate has long been lower than in most other states, the total number of suicides per year grew 47 percent from 2003 to 2012, from 424 to 624. Most occurred in a mental heath care vacuum: Two-thirds of Massachusetts residents who killed themselves in 2012 weren’t receiving any treatment, according to the Department of Public Health, though multiple studies have found that 88 to 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and potentially treatable mental condition.

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