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Expert explains how mental health and crime correlate

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 11:03 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Within the past five days, Jackson police have responded to three fatal shootings.

One being an officer-involved shooting, claiming the life of 28-year-old Solomon Jamison.

After his death, posts from his social media page are emerging, where he made comments appearing to be suffering from mental health issues.

“It shook me at 25 years (in law enforcement) because the first thing I thought about was the cries out for help,” said Christiane Williams, coordinator for Leading By Example.

Williams was a law enforcement officer for more than two decades.

She believes this case is just one example of how mental health issues contribute to some of Jackson’s crimes.

“There’s a big correlation between the mental health and the violence, but then we got to think about the drugs that enhance someone’s mental health ability,” said Williams. “If they’re experimenting with drugs, you don’t know what type of adverse effect it’s going to actually have on that individual, and it may be psychotic.”

Wanting to be proactive and find solutions to the issue, Williams is now conducting training for law enforcement and elected officials in the city and County.

The veteran officer gives tips on identifying a person going through mental health issues.

“Some things that you should look for — what the person is saying, are they saying things that are hallucinating, is it reality,” she described.

She also discusses how you can use de-escalation techniques.

“Tone of voice, how you approach it, and then just asking and introducing yourself and gaining their trust,” said Williams.

While it may not eliminate crime completely, Williams believes this is one step towards finding an answer to combating crime in the capital city.

Williams is also a part of the Crisis Intervention Team, which deals with people suffering from mental health issues.

Her next mental health training session will take place this Tuesday.

For more information about the session, click here.

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