In a perfect world, a "wellness check" would be exactly what it says. A person seems like they’re having trouble or are in crisis, so we call someone to check on them, to help them get well. As you probably know by now, that's not always what happens, and the results are people dead at the hands of the police.
Why are police the default when a wellness check is called for? Does it have to be that way? How is a wellness check supposed to be conducted—are there protocols that aren't being followed? How are officers trained for them? Exactly how much mental health training do prospective officers get?
GUEST: Uzma Williams, teaches a mental health course to students and prospective police officers at MacEwan University in Edmonton; she's also a co-editor of Police Response to Mental Health in Canada