Sunday, December 16, 2012

Connecticut 1 of 6 states without court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment

This year appears on track to end with more victims of rampage killings than any year before, according to Hawaii Free Press.

“Our mental health system has completely failed individuals with severe mental illness and their communities,” said Doris A. Fuller, executive director. “We have emptied the nation's hospitals, gutted state and local mental health programs, and turned involuntary treatment into a debate point instead of using it as a viable option to prevent tragedy involving those too ill to help themselves.”

“Mental illness is a real disease that can be treated, and those who receive timely and effective treatment are no more dangerous than the general public," said Fuller. "Tragedies like Sandy Hook are often evidence of five decades of failed mental-health policies. Mental illness treatment laws and policies need to address this failure so people get help before they become dangerous and so the public is protected.”

Connecticut has an estimated 140,000 people with severe mental illness, of whom approximately one-half are untreated at any given time. It is one of only six states without a law authorizing court-ordered outpatient treatment for qualifying individuals with severe mental illness. Between 2005 and 2010, the state eliminated 17% of its public hospital beds, leaving it with only 43% of the number deemed minimally adequate to meet public needs, and has twice as many people with severe mental illness behind bars as in psychiatric hospital beds.

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MR said...

Court-supervised mental health treatment is important, no doubt. Kendra's Law in New York was a responsible response to a senseless act of violence.

But while every country has legions of mentally ill (even those with homicidal or suicidal ideas), it seems that only in America do they have such easy access to machines that make kill.

What happened at Sandy Hook is obscenity. Intolerable. And what enabled it must be changed.

The first step in recovery is to create a national consensus that defines assault and automatic weapons out of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I know the politics of this seem hopeless, particularly in Pennsylvania. But while I know that most of us would sacrifice a lot, even our lives, for the right to free speech, freely exercise our religion, live in a free-market society, I refuse -- and I think most people would refuse -- to accept routine, sporadic mass slaughter -- sometimes of of children as the price of someone's expansive theory of the 2nd Amendment.

Law and Justice Policy said...

Michael thank you for your thoughtful comments. There is no question that we need to take a close look at access to guns, mental health treatment and innovative-non-target hardening-ways for schools to protect their students.

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