I highly recommend watching this recent episode of The Breakfast Club, featuring Olayemi Olurin and Eric Adams. Olurin absolutely demolishes Adams in this conversation, and I haven’t laughed so hard and so loud in a long time. The comments on YouTube are also brutal in calling out the mayor’s disgraceful behavior and harmful rhetoric.

As Olurin points out, even while Adams denies fearmongering, he makes disablist and sensationalist statements such as the following:

Listen, if I’m sitting down with you, brother, and I’m in a tent with you or an encampment, and I’m seeing human waste in the corner, I’m seeing stale food, I’m seeing drug paraphernalia, and I’m hearing you talking about “you’re only here until the spaceship comes to take you to your next planet,” you need to be involuntarily committed.

For all the self-congratulatory talk we in society make about how we are destigmatizing mental health and destigmatizing seeking help, it is comments such as the one made by Adams that push us back, and make it that much harder for individuals to seek help. And this is why so many individuals do not seek help, and also why we are seeing an increasing use of involuntary interventions.

If we want to encourage people to seek help, and if we truly want to save lives, we have to be more cognizant of the harmful ways we talk about people with mental illness. The increasing use of involuntary interventions is a sign of society’s failure to provide people’s basic needs, an indication of failure of destigmatization efforts, and a failure of psychiatric services to provide treatments that people want.


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