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Louisville mayoral candidates discuss mental health

Eight of the 12 candidates addressed their plans to tackle suicide, lack of resources, dealing with mental health in jails and drug addiction.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thursday was part two of a Louisville mayoral forum on mental health, just days after one of the candidates, Craig Greenberg, was shot at several times in his office, according to police. The suspect, Quintez Brown, was released yesterday.

The forum's host said Greenberg had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict.

Both Tim Findley and Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf weighed in.

“Mr. Greenberg and the people that were in his office and the family that he has, let’s keep them in our prayers because in the future this is going to hit him and I don’t care what everybody says and how strong it’s going to be, this is going to hit you, and that is what we’re talking about tonight,” Dieruf said.

“We prayed and we’re continuing to pray for Mr. Greenberg, but we also have to pray for the family of Quintez,” Findley said.

Eight of the 12 candidates addressed their plans to tackle suicide, lack of resources, dealing with mental health in jails and drug addiction.

"A lot of the reasons why people are feeling hopeless is because we've allowed them to be in positions or put them in positions where they're starved of resources,” Findley said.

He, and other candidates, said a lack of equity in Louisville leads to mental health issues.

RELATED: Louisville mayoral candidate Greenberg calls shooting 'surreal', will continue in mayor's race

David Nicholson said one fix can be to put mental health professionals in churches.

"Places where we know our citizens tend to feel comfortable and gather and if that’s places of worship, our community centers, we must have that open and accessible without an appointment, but mental health and doctors there at least one to two days a week,” Nicholson said.

Shameka Parrish-Wright said she wants to create more resources, like 24-hour respite centers, and says Metro Government needs an entire overhaul.

"The response of metro government is too slow and it's too convoluted with who do you go to, who do you talk to,” Parrish-Wright said.

Chartrael Hall also plans to add full-time respite centers.

"So when police officers encounter a community member in distress, hospital-level care is available for the officer to pass off,” Hall said.

Colin Hardin said there needs to be more mental health evaluations and the government needs to put people over profits.

“The two things that we do wrong is we put profit above all else and that undercuts other things that money can’t buy,” Hardin said.

Dieruf said he'll expand on a substance abuse recovery program.

"The program is not costing the city of J-town any money because of grants and volunteers and donations, so we move forward with this in Louisville very easily,” Dieruf said.

RELATED: Louisville mayoral candidates release public safety plans

All of the candidates seemed to agree that being in jail doesn't help those suffering from mental health.

“Jails are not designed, at this moment, to handle people with mental health issues,” Philip Molestina said.

Some of the candidates also agreed that more social workers should be used on mental health calls. It was a point Findley and Skylar Graudick, a former LMPD police officer, disagreed on.

"When they encounter an untrained police officer in these matters, they lose their life,” Findley said.

"Of course, there's situations where people lose their life, but I'm tired of this narrative that whenever people show up people get killed,” Graudick said. “It's absolutely not true on a statistically basis."

The Minority Mental Health Project said these forums are a great way to not only hear the candidate's plans but to hold them accountable when the time comes.

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