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From: "Mental Illness Policy Org" <office@mentalillnesspolicy.org>
Subject: Mental Illness Policy Org. Sept. Update
Date: September 17th 2011

Lots to report in Mental Illness Policy Org. Update

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Op-ed calls for eliminating SAMHSA to help people with mental illness

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) is supposed to help people with mental illness receive treatment. But as I noted in a SAMHSA op-ed in the Washington Times, SAMHSA does more to prevent treatment than facilitate it. And other SAMHSA funds are simply wasted. Echoing a call by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey in National Review, my op-ed calls for eliminating SAMHSA as a way to improve care for people with serious mental illness.

NYS Office of Mental Health uses 9/11 as an excuse to avoid treating people with serious mental illness

On the anniversary of 9/11, Dr. Lloyd Sederer wrote an article admitting NYS OMH spent $137 million dollars to deliver services to 1,500,000 individuals allegedly affected by the collapse of the World Trade Center. But a compelling article in Psychology Today shows mental illness did not increase as a result of 9/11. And even if all 50,000 who worked in the world trade center died (3,000 died) and each had four close relatives, that is 200,000 individuals who perhaps needed counseling. Who were the other 1,300,000 OMH was serving? I wrote on this misuse of funds in op-ed news.

NYS to provide housing for people with mental illness warehoused in Nursing Homes

According to the New York Times NYS is going to make more appropriate homes available for people with mental illness they are warehousing in nursing homes. The only reason it is happening is because NYS Office of Mental Health was sued. They settlement calls for 200 new units of housing. But if history is any judge, there will be no new housing, there will only be relabeling of existing housing. NYS regularly announces "new" housing for specific populations: New housing for mentally ill veterans, new housing for mentally ill homeless, new housing for dually-diagnosed, etc. In almost all cases they take existing housing, reallocate it to the new target population and brag that new housing was created. It's a shell game.

Consumers credit involuntary treatment with saving their lives

There is a myth that consumers are all the same and all oppose involuntary commitment. That is not true. This recent story by a consumer credits involuntary treatment with saving his life. There is now a wide-body of research that shows consumers who have experienced involuntary interventions like Assisted Outpatient Treatment overwhelmingly support it.

California wastes millions meant to help people with serious mental illness

California passed Proposition 63 and the Mental Health Services Act. The former raised money and the later required those funds to be spent helping people with serious mental illness. Unfortunately, the counties that received the money have largely refused to spend it on serious mental illness instead using it for horseback riding, wilderness adventures, hip-hop car washes, and other non-related uses. Mary Ann Bernard and I exposed this waste in an op-ed in Capital Weekly a prestigious California policy publication and a companion piece on Huffington Post titled "California eliminating mental illness treatment" A great article on same subject was published in Sacramento News.

Man with schizophrenia shoots 11, kills three in Arizona. Man off medicine for bipolar killed 5 in W. Virginia. And Californian kills two

Late August-Early September has already seen three mass murders by people with untreated serious mental illness. In Carson City, NV, West Virginia, and California. Advocates for people with mental health were quick to distance themselves as they believe that acknowledging incidents like this, is stigmatizing to those less seriously ill. What they fail to recognize is that, like the Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Lamb, and Dr. Fuller Torrey reported, it is violence by the minority that is tarring the majority. Hopefully advocates for mental health will reform their head-in-the-sand attitude when it comes to mental illness and violence and advocate for laws that can prevent it.

Orange County California Considers Implementing Assisted Outpatient Treatment

As the result of the death of a homeless man with mental illness, Orange County, CA is considering implementing Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT). Known as Laura's Law, it allows courts to order certain historically violent mentally ill individuals to accept treatment as a condition of living in the community (only after voluntary treatment has failed, only if they meet stringent conditions, and only after full-due process). In California, there is plenty of money for the program as a result of Prop 63/MHSA money (see previous article), but no will to help the most seriously ill. Like mental health directors everywhere, CA mental health directors prefer to serve large numbers of people instead of focusing on the most seriously ill. Carla Jacobs has been leading the efforts at reform.

New Jersey Advocates try to save Hagedorn and other psychiatric hospitals

NJ is attempting to close Hagedorn psychiatric hospital by pretending they will appropriately place the patients they are kicking out. Not likely to happen. A hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19. Go here to learn about and join efforts to save psych hospitals in NJ. Effort is being led by Mary Zdanowicz and Laura Tarlowe.

Mom on mental illness and civil liberties

The best article on civil liberties and mental illness ever written was by a Dad who was a board member of a civil liberties union and father of someone with mental illness. That gave him the ability, in Uncivil Liberties, to explain the issue from both perspectives. But recently a Mom wrote a very good one. It is interesting to note that John Stuart Mills, considered the greatest proponent of unencumbered civil liberties, wrote that his proposals should not apply "to people lacking the maturity of their faculties', i.e, were mentally ill. It should also be noted that in spite of constant harping that Assisted Outpatient Treatment violates civil liberties, all constitutional challenges have failed

Jared Loughner now incarcerated and forcibly medicated

Many advocates for mental health do not believe someone should be allowed treatment for mental illness unless they are well enough to recognize their need for it. They believe the law should require these individuals to become 'danger to self or others' rather than prevent them from becoming danger to self or others. Jared Loughner who shot Gabrielle Giffords could be Exhibit A in proving them wrong. Jared was identified by authorities as needing mental health treatment, refused to get it and then shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others. A judge has ruled he now has to accept the treatment he refused to access voluntarily. Only now from a jail cell.

Tennessee may reform laws to allow people with mental illness to receive treatment without requiring them to become 'danger to self or others' first.

Read here http://networkedblogs.com/lYPKY

Oregon Family Wants to Sue Oregon and County for failure to use Assisted Outpatient Treatment.

A woman tried to get her brother AOT in Oregon. They refused. Her son suicided. If you know an attorney that can help her, go here. Holding officials accountable for failing to provide treatment would be a tremendous advance.

Help us help others. Web ace needed

If you know how to manage a web site, install and manage widgets, a blog, newsletters, etc., and want to help, we could use it. You won't get paid (no one does) but you will feel rewarded. I need help managing the site, adding pages, managing mailing lists, etc. Work from home when you have time. Dreamweaver skills a must.

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Mental Illness Policy Org Enews provides unbiased information to policymakers and media about issues surrounding "serious" mental illnesses and the policies needed to improve care, save money, and increase the safety of the public and individuals with mental illness. Covered issues include involuntary commitment, preserving psychiatric hospitals, Kendra's Law, Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Medicaid policy and others. http://mentalillnesspolicy.org
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