Regarding Officer Chris Kilcullen and Mental Health Care

Statement by: Lane County Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Advisory Council

Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen

Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen

On behalf of our council, which represents mental health clients in Lane County, we extend our heartfelt concern and support to the family and friends of Officer Chris Kilcullen.

According to media reports, the individual who has confessed to shooting Officer Kilcullen has a long mental health history.

READ – Landlord tells of murder suspect’s odd behavior, Eugene Register Guard
READ – Eugene, Ore., police chief: Officer fatally shot while chasing fleeing motorist, Washington Post
READ – Police: Suspect confessed, Eugene Register Guard
READ – In death, lessons for our lives, By Bob Welch Register-Guard columnist
READ – ‘Our department is grieving, along with his family’, KATU.com
READ – Community channels grief toward honors, Eugene Register Guard
READ – UO student wants to make stretch of highway where officer was killed a memorial, Daily Reporter

While we do not have all the facts about this incident, we are united in condemning this horrible act.

We also would like to remind the community of the leadership by Officer Kilcullen in the field of mental health and policing. We need to continue Officer Kilcullen’s legacy. Several of our council members have had personal interactions with Officer Kilcullen.

In today’s meeting, they commented about Officer Kilcullen:

  • “Remarkably honest and nice person…”
  • “His easy going manner, sense of humor and fun, and respect.”
  • “Genuinely caring about all people from all walks of life, children, youth, psychiatric diagnoses.”
  • “Interested in and supportive of people with mental health issues.”

We caution our community against a backlash that discriminates against those of us who are diagnosed with a psychiatric disability. The vast majority of us are peaceful citizens with no tendency toward violence. We encourage our community to reach out and include the perspectives of individuals and groups representing mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.

Too often, there is silence about mental health issues and recovery until a violent incident.

Let’s start and maintain a dialogue about mental health issues, such as the local successful Opal Network which has met quarterly for four years.

We also need to remind the community, that the US federal mental health agency SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) issued a consensus statement signed by more than three dozen lawyers, advocates, consumers/survivors, and mental health professionals that reads in part:

“The results of several recent large-scale research projects conclude that only a weak association between mental disorders and violence exists in the community. Serious violence by people with major mental disorders appears concentrated in a small fraction of the total number, and especially in those who use alcohol and other drugs.” (Monhan, J. and Arnold, J., 1996)

For more information about this statement contact Oregon Consumer/ Survivor Coalition at oregon.united@gmail.com or phone 541-345-9106.