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Man accused of threatening kids and teachers at local childcare center

Man arrested after threatening kids and teachers at local childcare center

YAKIMA, Wash.- A 31-year-old man is facing 21 felony charges of harassment after police said he threatened to kill children and teachers at the YMCA's Jewett Center.

Police said the man has been documented as suffering from mental issues.

Officers said he pretended to have a gun and was pointing it at the children and teachers at the child-care center.

No weapon found on him and no one was hurt.

However, this isn't the first time police have dealt with this man and said this only highlights the lack of resources for people with mental health issues.

Mike Bastinelli, with the Yakima Police Department, said that they had contact with this man a couple days ago.

"This just underscores the need for this community to do a better job at dealing with mental health patients," he said.

Police say they usually deal with people with mental health issues multiple times before something does go wrong because there is no help for them.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Yakima helps people deal with their mental illnesses but realizes there is only so much they can do when the help isn't there.

Mary Stephenson is the president of NAMI Yakima said that the number of people that need help greatly outnumbers those that can help.

"Here people are visiting psychiatrist by Skype because we don't have enough psychiatrist in this community and there is real need for mental health professionals who can do the assessment and also then do the treatment," she said.

She said this is why many people's conditions get worse after being arrested and then let back out on their own.

"It's really dangerous because these people are vulnerable and they are not dealing with reality," Stephenson said.

Both groups said that attention to mental health can help someone before they become a danger to themselves or others.

If you are in need of help or are looking to know more about NAMI you can go to their website.

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