Mental Health Patients Dumped At Occupy Denver

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In this video, a member of Occupy Denver films a Denver Health Department van stopping in front of the Occupy encampment and dropping off a group of people believed to be mental health patients, and many appearing to be homeless.

It does seem highly improper to release patients just exiting mental healthcare into a camp of activists rather than make arrangements for more stable, permanent housing without fear of police raids and arrests.

From Occupy Denver:

On Saturday, April 14th, a white van with Denver Health markings stopped on Broadway directly across from Occupy Denver's encampment. The van was then emptied of several people - many of whom appear to be homeless - who are thought to have been receiving mental health care, who can then be seen simply joining the crowd at Occupy Denver.

Is this how mental patients are to be handled? Why does Denver Health take the time and energy to bring these patients to Occupy Denver? At best, this is an awful, misguided, and irresponsible way to deal with patients who are exiting treatment. At worst, this is an attempt to ensure that Occupy Denver's encampment is kept populated with people who the City and the opposed public can then point to as creating "health and safety hazards".

People who have been at Occupy Denver for a while reported that this kind of scene is normal, and that this is apparently an ongoing practice of Denver Health. Amid the ongoing battle against the proposed Urban Camping Ban that the Denver City Council is pushing through despite a public outcry and a lack of public consultation, this is one more piece of evidence that Denver does not have the ability to deal with it's homeless population, and that no matter how the law changes, homeless persons will be hurt due to lack of services and alternatives.

We demand that the homeless issue be addressed properly, and that this practice of Denver Health be investigated.


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