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Flawed, cash-strapped mental health system is to blame here

RE “POLICE repeatedly called to slain man’s home” (Metro, Nov. 1): The fatal police shooting of Terrence Coleman was a tragic outcome for a mentally ill young man and for his mother, who was trying to get him help. Don’t blame the police — they aren’t mental health workers. Don’t blame the South End Community Health Center, which does an excellent job with limited resources.

If there is any blame, look to the State House, where officials have cut the Department of Mental Health budget over a period of years. Look to the civil rights lawyers who think that people can say “No thank you” to attempts at commitment, leaving families with the choice of living with someone they are afraid of or throwing the person out. Look to those who repeatedly post on social media that mental illness does not exist, spreading a philosophy that only leads to more budget reductions.

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Most families keep trying to get their loved ones help. The lack of available treatment is the real issue, and that’s what the Globe Spotlight Team, in its recent series, was trying to illuminate, not stigmatize.

I hope that this case might pull on enough people’s heartstrings and help fix a broken system so that this man will not have died in vain. May he rest in peace. I pray for his grieving mother and family.

Laura Logue Rood
Boston

The writer is an advanced practice registed nurse.