Regarding Trevor Bickford’s trial in New York City (“Wells man who attacked NYPD officers with knife had untreated mental illness, attorneys say,” May 6), what a shame that four lives have been destroyed over the failure of the mental health care system in Southern Maine to adequately care for someone in dire need of resources, medication and therapy.

Bickford’s mother did the right thing, as did the local police, when she reached out to them for help over her son’s untreated symptoms. Documentation from Spring Harbor Hospital, where the police transported Bickford, reported that he not only had thoughts of harming others but expressed intent to harm others, and that he was at risk for elopement. If that doesn’t constitute the need for mandated hospitalization, I am not sure what does. Instead, without thorough observation, they discharged him with a referral to outpatient treatment (where it would take weeks, if not months, to get an appointment), and left a vulnerable young man without support.

I sincerely hope the judge and the prosecutors in this case look to his history prior to de-stabilization to understand the impact of untreated mental illness on his violent decline.

Sarah Maloney, LCSW

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