District meeting addresses mental illness

The topic of Adam Brockus’ first district meeting Tuesday as a Bremerton City Councilman was something close to home — mental illness.

Brockus was arrested and later faced a misdemeanor charge after a dispute with a family member, who has a mental illness. The charge has since been diverted and can be removed from his record after a year, Brockus’ attorney said.

Without a plan, confronting someone who has a mental illness and is agitated could snowball out of control, said Pat Lovett, family advocate for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. She informed the group of a dozen people who gathered at the Manette Senior Center on what they can do to prepare themselves.

Managing someone’s mental health is a three-way partnership between the family, patient and service provider, she explained. Lovett described three incidents last year with her mentally ill son, who had stopped taking his medication.

“I was in danger. I was afraid, but I knew what to do,” she said.

When her son threatened her she made three calls: The first was 9-1-1, the second was to the Kitsap Mental Health Services (KMHS) Crisis Response Team, and the third was to his service provider.

“Do I trust (my son)? Absolutely. I don’t trust his illness,” she said.

When the sheriff’s deputies arrived, she handed them a note stating her son’s name, the illness and the types of medications he was supposed to take. This quickly informs officers of the situation without it escalating into a shouting match she said.

She also urged people to keep note cards with all the phone numbers by each phone and in your wallet or purse.

Lovett also hoped to dispel some of the stigma that comes along with having a mental illness.

“I see no difference in a (brain) aneurysm and a mental illness. So I get really annoyed with the stigma,” she said.

It is also important that family members set boundaries. If the person lives in your home, charge them rent, make them do chores and take responsibility for themselves, Lovett said.

Councilwoman Dianne Robinson attended the meeting and praised Brockus for having the forum.

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