Advocates for mental illness: “There are disparities all around”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Finding a glimmer of hope amongst tragedy. After a schizophrenic man was shot and killed by Milwaukee Police, advocates for those with mental illness are speaking up hoping to bring light to an ongoing problem.

A local mother says the recent downtown shooting brings up painful memories, and she's hoping similar situations can be prevented in the future.

"I'm just sorry for that family," said LuAnn Will, mother of son with mental illness.

LuAnn empathized with Dontre Hamilton's loved ones.

"I cried for that family because I know exactly how they feel, the person is sick and the system fails you and you do what you can for them," said Will.

31-year-old Hamilton was shot by Milwaukee Police in Red Arrow Park. Similarly, authorities opened fire on Will's son back in April after police say he threatened to kill her and harm himself, and he brandished a gun. Will survived, but in both of these cases, the suspects were mentally ill.

"They don't know what they are doing, they are not medicated, they are just out there, something has to be done," said Will.

Sue McKenzie with Rodgers InHealth aims to dispel the myths associated with mental illness.

"People that are living with a mental illness are much more likely to be victims of crime rather than perpetrate crime," said McKenzie.

McKenzie is part of the new coalition WISE, which works to eliminate the stigma. Instead of fear, the key for everyone's sake is to understand the person with mental illness.

"We need people to understand the hope of recovery and what we know works is sharing those stories of people who have faced really tough challenges and found unique paths to successful lives," said McKenzie.

McKenzie says it'll be a long time for us to get any real answers or solutions, but she hopes this can bring about some awareness and keep this in the forefront of people's minds.

We invite you to check out Mental Health America of Wisconsin. The website has an interactive Wisconsin map that allows you to select the county in which you live -- and see what mental health resources are available. CLICK HERE to check it out.

3 comments

  • Al,Ceplina

    Hello,i commented on this on my facebook page,it’s getting tiring ,hearing about all the violance in Milwaukee with our trusted police officer’s,and black people,or our state and other states,why do police shoot first and ask question’s later,souldn’t police official’s be trained in hand to hand combat?first of all they approached this man,get close enough to put their own life in danger,lose their weapon,then shoot someone due to their own stupidity,if a person pull’s anything but a gun,i don’t think there in danger unless a person can get close enough to use it,and don’t approach someone single handed,now if someone pulls a gun they may have to react with a gun,officer’s should only use gun if last resort,i see it that everything the officer did was wrong,and i think flint used reverse physycology on the public,by blaming mental health help lacking, to make public, look in another direction that they wish this didn’t happen due to lack of help, when the whole issue lyes in the dept hand’s, do to the lack of correct proceedure,they could of surrounded the guy and took him down with manpower,like an untamed lion.he was out in open and officer’s had plenty of time to react(the officer)instead he caused this all to go down the way it did.and as far as black people they want to be treated with respect,yet they themselves keep the N word alive to using the word amongst themselve’s,then they are in the news every day shooting each other,and now they are heading to surrounding cities to rob,people and business’because we are very trust worthy and easy target’s cuz we don’t have to live locked in our home’s.and behind glass bullet proof glass ,but now as victum’s we have to start living like this,i also was a victum,working on a house,to better it on north side,i was approached by 3 black guy’s pistol whipped getting stitches in eye and staples in top of my head,not being predjudous,had to look at every other black person daily as if they were a threat,whyis this,respect demand
    ‘s respect.

  • Steve Thomas

    Al, stay away from your keyboard before you make yourself look anymore foolish. Bottom line is cops are NOT highly trained in martial arts as you perceive them to be based on the number of Walker Texas Ranger episodes you watched in 1995. You and the other trolls on the internet should actually look up the justification for deadly force in WI before you flood the web with your dribble.

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