Menu Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher

A true story in six tweets. [June 20]

1. Tonight at the end of our street a woman was having an acute episode of psychiatric distress. Neighbours called police and ambulance – CAT team clearly required. We got six cop cars, one cop chopper, two fire trucks. Then, 45 mins later, an ambulance. System’s fukt. #mentalhealth

2. One cop threatened to ‘deal with me later’ because I was watching from the other side of the street, concerned for woman’s welfare as cops in riot gear knocked on her front door. So I started video’ing.

3. Two decades ago the husband of one of my friends had a psychotic episode on Bondi Beach. Police surrounded him and shot him dead.

4. Didn’t want to see history repeating. Cops said neighbour and I were being a ‘hindrance’ to their operation. From the other side of the road?? Hoping the video’ing might have been a ‘hindrance’ to a police overreaction to a woman suffering deeply.

4. I’m sad and angry. We just had a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. This was a real life example of how terribly we are failing – and misunderstanding – people who are suffering. No one thought to ask the neighbours abt family members who could help her.

5. I know there are other versions of this story. I’m sure police thought they were protecting others from potential violence. But ‘simple’ responses to complex human problems don’t work. The woman was terrified. Cops could have asked us what had happened rather than threaten us.

6. Meanwhile a guy who believes in the nuttiest and most dangerous conspiracy theories (deemed terrorism in the USA) has been happily house-minding the PM’s residence. Upside down world. #auspol