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Decriminalizing Mental Health

Please join us on Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:00 PM (Arizona time) for the “Decriminalizing Mental Health” Session of the Human Rights Film Festival! We will feature two films that explore the U.S. mental health crisis and the increasing criminalization of those in need of care. Award winning and critically acclaimed documentary, Bedlam, takes us inside the psychiatric emergency rooms, jails, and homes of those suffering from serious mental illness, telling their stories with sensitivity and compassion and pointing to potential solutions. Emmy award winning Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops tells the story of a model policing program that serves to de-escalate mental health crises while increasing public safety. It follows Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro, members of the San Antonio Police Department’s ten-person mental health unit, and their innovative approach to dramatically deescalate police responses to people in crisis.

PBS Journalist Jose Cardenas will lead a panel discussion of efforts to reimagine mental illness interventions both locally and beyond, bringing together retired San Antonio officer Ernie Stevens (from Ernie and Joe) with City of Tempe Mayor Corey D. Woods, Tempe Municipal Court Judges Tara Fuller and Kevin Kane, and Tempe Police Chief Jeffrey Glover. Attendees can participate in the discussion through the Q & A feature.

If you would like to participate in the conversation regarding efforts to decriminalize mental health, please RSVP at this link.


Session Schedule: Friday, April 2, 2021

3:00 PM       Welcome to the "Decriminalizing Mental Health" Session of the HRFF!

                       Showing of clips from Bedlam

                       Showing of clips from Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops

4:30 PM        Panel Discussion

5:15 PM        Conclusion of this session


View the trailers for the films below!

Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops