This should not happen in this country.
«Sheriff’s deputies found the woman, Monica Cannady, 35, and two of her children, Malik Milton, 3, and Kyle Milton, 9, dead from hypothermia on Sunday, the authorities said. They were in a wooded field where they had been sleeping in their hometown, Pontiac, Mich., a predominantly Black city of about 60,000 about 20 miles north of Detroit.
Ms. Cannady’s 10-year-old daughter survived and reported the deaths to a nearby resident, saying that her “family was dead in a field,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard of Oakland County said at a news conference on Monday. He said the accidental deaths had been preventable and that they represented a larger, systemic failure.
“This tragedy is fundamentally evidentiary of the breakdown of our mental health system in America,” he said. “We don’t give our mental health providers and systems enough support.”
Melanie Rutherford, a City Council member whose district includes the neighborhood where Ms. Cannady and her children died, said that Ms. Cannady’s refusal to seek mental health assistance reflects an anxiety that can persist among some Black people.
“When you think about the mental health issues, especially in the African American community, oftentimes we’re scared to tell anyone. And oftentimes we’re mislabeled,” said Ms. Rutherford, who is Black. “We have to come to the realization that mental health is real. Mental illness is real.”»