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In response to a tragedy: Shooting of Police Officer Chris Kilcullen and Mental Health

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On 22 April 2011, City of Eugene police officer Chris Kilcullen was shot and killed by an individual who has confessed. The media identified the shooter as an individual with a long mental health history. "Officer Chris" as he liked to be called was a leader in including people diagnosed with mental health disabilities in crisis intervention training with the police. The local community of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors has issued a public statement.

In response to a tragedy: Shooting of Police Officer Chris Kilcullen and Mental Health

Officer Chris, as he asked to be called.

News report about shooting here.

More info about MindFreedom Lane County. 

Regarding Officer Chris Kilcullen and Mental Health Care

 

Statement by
Lane County Mental Health 
Consumer/Survivor Advisory Council

 

26 April 2011

 

On behalf of our council, which represents mental health clients in Lane County, we extend our heartfelt concern and support to the family and friends of Officer Chris Kilcullen.

According to media reports, the individual who has confessed to shooting Officer Kilcullen has a long mental health history.

Of course, while we do not have all the facts about this incident, we are united in condemning this horrible act.

We also would like to remind the community of the leadership by Officer Kilcullen in the field of mental health and policing. We need to continue Officer Kilcullen's legacy. 

Several of our council members have had personal interactions with Officer Kilcullen. They said at today's meeting about Officer Chris:

  • "Remarkably honest and nice person..."
  • "He had an easy going manner, sense of humor and fun, and respect." 
  • "Genuinely caring about all people from all walks of life, children, youth, psychiatric diagnoses." 
  • "Interested in and supportive of people with mental health issues."

 

We caution our community against a backlash that discriminates against those of us who are diagnosed with a psychiatric disability. The vast majority of us are peaceful citizens with no tendency toward violence. We encourage our community to reach out and include the perspectives of individuals and groups representing mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.

Too often, there is silence about mental health issues and recovery until a violent incident.

Let's start and maintain a dialogue about mental health issues, such as the local successful Opal Network which has met quarterly for four years.

We also need to remind the community, that according to the US federal mental health agency SAMHSA:

A consensus statement signed by more than three dozen lawyers, advocates, consumers/survivors, and mental health professionals reads in part:

“The results of several recent large-scale research projects conclude that only a weak association between mental disorders and violence exists in the community. Serious violence by people with major mental disorders appears concentrated in a small fraction of the total number, and especially in those who use alcohol and other drugs.” (Monhan, J. and Arnold, J., 1996)

 

For more information about this statement contact Oregon Consumer/Survivor Coalition at oregon.united@gmail.com or phone 541-345-9106. 

MindFreedom International is based in Eugene, Oregon, and representatives of MFI are active in the Lane County Consumer/Survivor Council and Opal Network.

Guide to Lane County mental health consumer/survivor empowerment opportunities click here.

 
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Jay Mahler

Jay is a survivor of forced electroshock who spent ten years in the mental health system. He is now a widely respected leader in California, where he founded Mental Health Consumer Concerns and the California Network of Mental Health Clients. Jay is pictured here at a MindFreedom strategy conference at Highlander. (Photo by Tom Olin.)
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