What if Daniel Prude had Peer Support?


In a recent statement about the brutal death of Daniel Prude at the hands of police in Rochester, CCIT-NYC (Correct Crisis Intervention Today) points out that a “peer with lived mental health experience, trained in de-escalation techniques and paired with an EMT, would have responded more humanely and effectively to Mr. Prude’s health and emotional needs, rather than violently escalate the crisis as occurred. Mr. Prude should be alive today.”  (Read More)

It occurred to me that stories about working with people, like Daniel Prude, written by peer specialists who are doing the work could change hearts and minds about “people like us”.  Our stories of hope can help to reinforce the idea that recovery is possible. In fact, recovery should be the expectation.

Howard Diamond’s previous blog on Stigma and Discrimination is a narrative that can be changed if we collectively tell a different story. One in which we simply offer snippets about changes we’ve witnessed in people we support. Maybe we write down things people say when they thank us for the difference it made to have a peer to peer relationship. Maybe it is about having someone who believed in them. Or simply how they no longer felt alone. Our collective stories by and about the people we support can educate and inspire others (possibly policy makers). By writing a simple quote said by someone we support, an example of a life changed, we may be able to change — maybe save — someone’s life in the future.

Let’s tell our short stories about recovery, resilience, and the difference peer supporters make, one person at a time.

If you are not aware of the circumstances around Daniel Prude’s homicide, I invite you first to read the CCIT-NYC statement (Read here), and then respond using the comment section below to the question, “What if Daniel Prude *had* peer support at the time of the incident? How might his life have been different?”

One thought on “What if Daniel Prude had Peer Support?

  1. RitaC September 26, 2020 / 6:28 pm

    In our networking group this week, we talked about things like:

    • It was March. It was Rochester. It was cold. He was naked. Why didn’t someone lend him a coat or bring him a blanket?
    • There was a man named James Chasse in a mental health crisis killed in Portland Oregon in 2006. They made a movie about the changes that came about when people took action: Alien Boy – https://cstpdx.com/show/alien-boy-life-and-death-james-chasse
    • The purpose of peer support is not to ‘bring people to the system’ but rather to connect with people in ways that they find support and alternatives so they don’t end up ‘in the system.’
    • Peers don’t “look down on people.
    • In Portland, less than 10% of police calls are for violence crimes. 49% are for a mental health crisis.
    • Police don’t want to go out on mental health crisis calls. That’s not their training or their purpose. It is a bad situation for everyone that police have to respond to these calls.
    • Something to consider, which Portland did, is having peers on the crisis dispatch lines (911) so they can help with the emotional response and also have a sense of who needs to be directed to the response.
    • Half the time, people would rather go to the police than a clinician because of stigmatizing experiences with clinicians
    • Why isn’t there more attention to non-clinical interventions like Alternatives to Suicide and the Hearing Voices Network? These groups have been demonstrated beneficial for many.
    • As a person with mental illness, there are times when what I’m doing don’t make sense (to others) but it is something that is helping me to cope. I don’t know why he ran out naked – we don’t know if he felt like his clothes were on fire…
    • We’ve got to make sure peers are at the table. Make sure the advocates are there. If necessary, we need to sneak in to where these discussions are happening – force our way in – ask how they created restorative justice and a collaborative environment in Portland. It isn’t about “us” vs. “them”. There are no winners until people are able to get the support they need when they experience altered states and crisis. The police want help with this too. Get the police to support us.
    • Testify for the New York City council. They want this to happen here. They’re interested in the perspective of how things would be different. Work with Carla Rabinowicz and the CCIT-NYC.
    • The police are emotionally torn-ripped. They want to be of service to the community, but then they have become crippled in their efforts to make change. This role given to police is no-win. They try to be helpful but there are people who are having a bad life who constantly interact with police. Police show up for everyone. Compassion fatigue sets in.
    • If you don’t see where someone’s life matters, there’s nothing we can do to help you see…
    • In a word… if Daniel Prude had peer support, what would be different? What would he have had?

    • Compassion
    • Advocacy
    • He Would Not Have Felt Alone
    • Mutuality
    • Life
    • Alternatives
    • Security
    • (Respectfully submitted, Rita Cronise, group facilitator – notes from our Networking session held on September 22, 2020.)


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