Last November, Michael Dawthorne stood in his sock feet in the freezing rain, trying to figure out how to keep his son alive for one more night. Dakota had run from their home in London, Ont., and down the street, waving an air gun his father had tried to confiscate. Mr. Dawthorne chased after him, shoeless, but not before calling the police for help. “If you get a report of someone with a gun on the street,” he told them in a panic, “please don’t shoot him. That’s my kid.”  Read the rest of this article at The Globe and Mail…

The larger role police are being forced to play in the mental-health-care system is the inevitable result of a society that has opted to close long-term-care institutions without ensuring there is enough community-based support for patients and the families caring for them, according to mental-health experts. These are the patients most vulnerable when emergency-room wait times are long and communication between different parts of the health-care system is broken. They get lost between the hospital and the community clinic. They end up on the street, counted among the country’s homeless. Or in jail. Or worse. — Erin Anderssen, The Globe and Mail

Image: Dakota Dawthorne, shown with parents Michael and Nathan in their living room in London, Ont., lives with high-functioning autism, a developmental delay, Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Access to mental-health services has been difficult, and sometimes the parents have turned to police when Dakota’s behaviour is out of control. ‘When we call the police, it is because, as a family, we can’t handle what is before us,’ Michael Dawthorne says. (Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail)