The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Murder in Fresno Doubles, Mental Health Plays a Role

Unfortunately, with cutbacks and loss of psychiatric beds for treatment, this story will be seen and heard more and more.  Mental illness is real.  You cannot just try to ignore or delete it.  Not dealing with this problem will not make it go away.  The mentally ill out in our communities are simply trying to survive, just like you, just like me.

I read the news from across the nation and I am saddened by the effect on the mental health communities of the budget cutting going on.  Why is it the mental health budget is the first to go?

Please read the article below.  Hear what is really being said and then do something.  If we all make enough noise, maybe someone will hear us.


Posted: // March 10, 2010 01:31 AM

By Norma Yuriar

Fresno, Calif.  (KMPH News) — A dramatic surge in murders in the city of Fresno has residents on edge.  The Fresno Police department is investigating thirteen homicides compared to six this time last year.

“Out of the thirteen, three involve mental health issues,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.  “I think budget cuts, whether it deals with people being released early from prison or jail or people not being able to receive the proper mental health care, all of those, contribute to crime within our city.”

Dyer said the killings are not connected in any way, but at least two of them involve very bizarre behavior.

On Saturday, a neighbor in southeast Fresno couldn’t believe his eyes, so he calls police.  When officers arrive they find 54–year old Juvenal Pimental wheeling a shopping cart with his dead brother inside.

The day before, a Fresno man who police say suffers from dementia severely beat his wife to death.  Dyer said 76–year old Charles Salazar, first admitted the murder to his neighbor and then to the first officer to arrive on scene.

Dyer said his officers are dealing more and more with people that are facing mental health issues.

“We are going to be doing all that we can to address some of the mental health issues out there with Fresno County,” Dyer said.

As a department Dyer said they have the ability to launch large scale operations and go after violent crime suspects, but the mental health issue is something that is outside of their control.

“We really rely on other agencies to provide mental health care — so that we don’t have to be confronted with people in our society that have irrational behavior,” he said.

Daniel Meyers has been struggling with depression for the past seven years.  A week ago he lost his case manager and his medication is being switched — that’s around the time Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved almost $9million in cuts to mental health services because of reduced revenue from the state.

“The state is broke, but to pick–on mental illness is going to be a critical thing, not just to us but to society,” Meyers said.  “Sometimes we don’t understand when someone has an illness and sometimes people say we can just pull up our boot straps and move on, but sometimes we can’t.”

Dyer is planning a meeting with the Fresno County Department of Mental Health in the coming weeks.

“When people are dealing with mental health issues, they are not in their right state of mind,” he said.  “They are not rational and often times it leads to a confrontation – whether it’s with an officer or other people in society and sometimes violence results and even death and that’s what we’ve seen in three of our murders this year.”

Despite an increase in murder, Dyer said violent crime is down 13.2% compared to this time last year.


Here’s the link to the original article

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