Community leaders push for mental health help after numerous crimes across the country

Posted at 6:28 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 18:46:07-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — We have seen people with mental health issues commit violent crimes in our community.

Carolyn Clifford talks about her mental health story

From the death of a Detroit Police Officer gunned down while on duty to this past Sunday with the death of three people allegedly shot by a 19-year-old.

The suspect, Dontae Smith, is now facing multiple charges including three counts of first-degree murder. He's accused of shooting four people at random within a 2 ½ hour period Sunday morning.

Investigators say he suffers from mental illness. More than a million adults in Michigan suffer from some sort of mental health problem. That's according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

According to the study, 38% of these people and 80% of those with a substance abuse disorder are not getting help

Well now, community leaders are joining a national effort with a public service announcement to be released tomorrow that just might help. A mom begged for help for her son in front of Detroit Police, this same young man would later open fire on and kill a Detroit Police Officer.

This past Sunday 19-year-old went on a shooting rampage, killing three including this mother of five and wounded a fourth a 76-year-old man and his dog.

Detroit Police told us his aunt called them with the address of his whereabouts after seeing his image on the news and canines lead police to the alleged murder weapon inside.

These violent shootings in our community and across the nation are only compounded by the fact that many of the people pulling the trigger are suffering from mental illness. and people need to know there is help available.

This powerful public service announcement will be released tomorrow.

Detroit mental health PSA

It is meant to send the message there is no shame in seeking help for mental illness including thoughts of suicide.

Reverend Horace Sheffield is one of the ministers on the Public Service Announcement.

"Life has always been tough for some in our community and then couple it with the pandemic, loss of income, unparalleled deaths," said Reverend Horace Sheffield from New Destiny Christian Fellowship.

K.C. Wilbourn-Snapp went from Detroit school Principal to prison for taking bribes and suffered dark moments with her fall from grace.

Today she is a minister and spends her time in various prisons helping people overcome mental health problems he urges to murder or harm themselves.

Training of counselors to help with these 988 initiatives is going on here at the Destiny Christian Fellowship and online nationally next month.

The 988-crisis line is available 24-7 and will help connect Michigan residents to resources for help.