Mental Health- Let's Talk or Not

I'm a retired professional woman in my late 50's. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder some 20 years ago and have been stable for many years, under the care of a psychiatrist and dutifully take my medications.

Recent situations, the death of my sister, my autistic son and isolation from Covid have impacted on my stability and I have grown increasingly depressed. A few weeks ago, I had 5 or 6 glasses of wine, not usual for me as I realize alcohol is a depressant and does not mix well with my medications. My son was at his father's for the night.

After my friend left at 3:30 a.m., I felt a compulsion to take all of my medications. I didn't want to die but wanted someone to verbally talk me down from this compulsion. It was about 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I tried calling 3 or 4 friends to no avail. I tried the Help Line and was on hold for 37 minutes, all the while my anxiety was increasing. I didn't want to take any of my medication, although anti anxiety medication is prescribed to me.

Out of desperation, I called 911. I explained that this was a non emergent situation, I did not require an ambulance or police attendance but would like to speak to a mental health professional. I explained who I had tried to talk to. They suggested I take a taxi to the Emergency room. During this pandemic the last place I wanted to be was in an ER. I thanked them and said I would continue to contact a family member or friend. I hung up, changed into my pajamas & went to my bed. I attempted to call the Helpline again to be put back on hold.

Approximately, 1/2 hour later, there was 2 Edmonton Police Officers at my door. I explained that I just needed my medications removed for the night and I would be fine. I was not slurring my words, unsteady on my feet, vomiting, rude, violent or the like. I spoke to a social worker on the phone and explained that I only needed my medications removed. I took my medications to the basement and placed them in the rafters. I told the officers I was going to bed, did not require any further assistance, asked them to close the locked door on their way out. I took my puppy upstairs and went to bed. I texted my psychiatrist, my son and one friend.

About 15 minutes later, they entered my bedroom and said that "things had gotten to the point that they would handcuff me and take me to the hospital under Section 10 of the Mental Health Act". I voluntarily went with them to the Hospital, where I stayed on a cold stretcher until 11 a.m. when I was discharged and told to see my psychiatrist on my regular appointment day.

I was shocked, embarassed and ashamed that I would reach out for assistance when I was in crisis to proper resources that I could not reach for true mental health assistance. I appreciate that EPS 911 is not a mental health service and did not ask for police or ambulance but asked only to speak and for the assistance of a mental health professional.

To threaten to handcuff me and physically remove me from my home without discussion of voluntarily going? The attitude of the attending officer (to be fair, only one of the officers) was "We've wasted enough time on you, we'll just cuff you and dump you at the Royal Alex"

I'm writing this on the "Bell Let's Talk 2021 Day"... it's ironic. After this episode of trying to reach out for help, I think I'm better off not talking about my mental health. I now have a police record for asking for help further shaming me for having a mental disorder, the embarrassment of my neighbors seeing me being taken away in a cruiser, all for a 4 hour nap in a Covid ridden hospital.

Thanks EPS for your lack of empathy, lack of training in this area and adding to the stigma of having a mental health issue. Did you save a life.?.. no, and I sure won't reach out if I'm ever in crisis again.

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Consultation has concluded

Marcy almost 3 years ago
@ Fenderlace6 - I wanted to let you know that I read your comment and I am truly sorry this happened to you. I am also part of this group. I am not an officer. I am a volunteer in the community. You are not alone.
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Admin Commented Yasin Cetin almost 3 years ago
Hi @Fenderlace6, My name is Yasin and I am one of the folks on the Commitment to Action team. We are sorry to hear that you had such a negative experience while reaching out during a difficult time. EPS views responding with compassion and empathy a priority, and to read about your experience is heartbreaking. 

I'd like to recommend that you file a Police Act Complaint here:

On our end, we will ensure your feedback informs better policing practice. I want to thank you for sharing your story here today. I hope you keep engaging, and if have any questions, please feel free to reach out. 
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LillyWinchester13 almost 3 years ago
I am so sorry that you went through that. I myself now have a record and a stigma with the EPS because of reaching out for help. I understand what that is like. if you ever need someone to talk to I am here for you. I am 41 and am immunocompromised and had similar experiences with officers when calling for help. I am currently trying to get my files so that I can understand exactly where I went wrong in asking for help, but I am unsuccessful. 
If you need support, I am here for you. 
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