Mental Health Colorado Statement: Jacob Blake

Mental Health Colorado issued the following statement on August 24, 2020 

This morning most of us woke to news of unrest that occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin after police shot Jacob Blake, who was unarmed, seven times in the back at point blank range in front of his three sons, aged 3, 5, and 8After witnessing this execution by the police, Jacob’s children went to sleep last night not knowing if their father would survive. While we are still waiting for further details about how this unfolded, we are all stunned by the event, only the latest in hundreds of years of police-related fatalities that have the tacit approval of a justice system that does not hold officers accountable. 

Trauma was inflicted on Jacob, on his children who witnessed the heinous event, and on our nation as a wholeRecurring instances of police violence against Black lives destroy our integritydegrade our humanity, and take an incalculable toll on our mental health. 

Addressing racism is a mental health priority. We must address systemic racism by holding police accountable for every use of force and every shot fired, as well as by attracting more Black mental health professionals into the mental health workforce, expanding telehealth, and implementing crisis response teams. The systemic inequities that have led to another taxpayer-supported shooting of an unarmed Black man  permeate all our lives and prevent any of us from achieving healthier minds—and they cannot be ignored. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob, his friends, his neighbors, and his family during this difficult time, and especially with his children. We hope Jacob makes a full and speedy recovery, and that the state and nation make steady progress toward justice for all. The police we pay to protect our public safety should, like firemen and women, be prepared to risk their own safety long before they Inflict extra-judicial harm on members of the public.