In an effort to help bring awareness towards the ever needed change in mental health and mental health services Dr. Paulette Steeves, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Healing and Reconciliation at Algoma University, provided a statement to local media at the Civic Centre on Thursday afternoon. This statement is in relation to “defunding” the police to relocate 10 per cent of those funds towards social services, in helping to provide proper resources for those individuals suffering from mental illness.
“Defunding the police does not mean stripping a department of its budget or abolishing it all together. It’s about scaling back budgets and relocating those resources to other agencies, investing in communities, education and medical access. People call it defunding, but it’s about balancing budgets in a different way. The concept is really simple, when cities start investing in community services they reduce the need to call police officers.”
Dr. Steeves statement was created through some of her own personal experiences and pulls on the latest petition created to put pressure on Mayor Christian Provenzano and City Council to improve such services. To date the petition is alright over 1,200 signatures and the number keeps climbing.
Prior to Dr. Steeves statement, a few supporters made themselves present, but at the last moment decided to retract their signatures and not speak. Dr. Steeves being the only speaker she led the statement with high hopes that her words will reach the audience it needs to reach.
The 10 per cent that is asked to be relocated to social services isn’t that large of a cut when looking at the large picture of things. The petition creator asked to remain anonymous, but had done that research to show that the 10 per cent cut would be $2.75 million when the forecast of the final police budget is over $27 million.
When asking Dr. Steeves if this is enough, her response to SaultOnline was “No, I think people are not aware of the high need.”