Is Eagle County taking mental health seriously, particularly in our jail? (letter) | VailDaily.com

Is Eagle County taking mental health seriously, particularly in our jail? (letter)

Editor's note: Bradley Hawks was arrested on Saturday, Nov. 3, and charged with domestic violence, stalking, harassment and posting a private image for harassment. Last year, the Colorado Legislature passed Senate Bill 17-207, which includes provisions to end the use of jails and correctional facilities as placement options for individuals on emergency mental health holds if they have not also been charged with a crime.

In response to your article on the mental health crisis in Eagle County ("County faces record number of suicides," Monday, Nov. 19):

Hello, my name is Bradley, and I have struggled with mental health most of my adult life caused by a slow-growing tumor in my frontal lobe. I recently had a mental breakdown, which resulted with me as a guest of Eagle County jail on suicide watch.

The atrocious conditions and the jail's lack of concern or understanding of mental health is alarming.

The approximately 6-foot-by-10-foot cell has no sink, no mirror, no toilet, no toilet paper and the light never turns off. You're stripped naked with a knee-length suicide smock and expected to use a 4-inch-by-12-inch grated hole in the floor as a bathroom.

MindSprings Health came and spoke to me a few hours after my arrival and recommended I be given back my glasses and moved into general population. I waited until after dinner and asked the corrections officer why I hadn't been moved; his response was, "Those girls don't run this place, Sargent does."

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I remained in that cell 48 hours longer than MindSprings recommended, was denied a shower and even my glasses, which caused severe eyestrain resulting in four seizures during my stay.

I was taken to different hospitals, which resulted in being treated with different medications at each, none of which were the medication I'm actually prescribed.

How can we expect Eagle County to take mental health seriously when the experts are disregarded and treated so callously by those in authority?

My experience has made me terrified of calling the police or 911 during a future mental health crisis because I know how coldly I will be treated.

Bradley Hawks

Minturn