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Letter to the editor: Families should have say


Thank you for your detailed coverage of the tragic New Year’s Eve morning violence.

My condolences to the Matthew Riehl and Zackari Parrish families. May their deaths not be for naught.

Sheriff Tony Spurlock said, “we are committed to do whatever we can to address the mental health issues in the county and whatever we can do anywhere in the state.”

Here are two suggestions: Currently, according to Colorado’s mental health hold law, only licensed medical professionals or law enforcement officers can initiate a mental health hold, an “M-1.” Families of ill relatives are not permitted to initiate an M-1 hold.

This is because, way back in the mid 20th century, families were erroneously blamed for causing schizophrenia, and because a few families incarcerated annoying relatives in the old defunct state hospitals.

Today, many families are caring for their mentally ill family members and are intimately aware of their symptoms. By permitting family members to initiate an M-1, the mentally ill might get treatment before psychosis renders them dangerous.

Also, we need more resources to assess and treat the seriously mentally ill citizens in our communities. Allocate the funds. Spend the money — for the well being of us all.

Jean Trester



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