Treatment Advocacy Center Unveils Federal Policy Agenda to Improve Mental Illness Treatment Options

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On the two-year anniversary of the Tucson tragedy, the Treatment Advocacy Center offers common-sense solutions that would make mental illness treatment available for those who need it most.

On the two-year anniversary of the Tucson tragedy, it is more clear than ever that improving the laws that make treatment possible before tragedies occur needs to be a national priority

The Treatment Advocacy Center is urging the White House working group on gun violence to consider three changes in mental health policy to improve public safety by making mental illness treatment available to more individuals at risk for committing violent acts.

These are three realistic and effective approaches to making treatment available for those too ill to seek help, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center.

  •     Foster universal adoption and use of court-ordered outpatient treatment (“assisted outpatient treatment” or “AOT”) for at-risk individuals by establishing and funding a national AOT demonstration project. Mental health courts became widespread after a similar federal project in the early 2000s.
  •     Promote reform of civil commitment laws and practices with educational programs that provide training to judges, law enforcement and other stakeholders in a position to use these laws, which exist to safeguard those with the most severe mental illness and the public.
  •     Provide sufficient public psychiatric beds to treat individuals in psychiatric crisis or with chronic mental illness by repealing the IMD Exclusion, which creates an economic incentive for states to eliminate state hospital beds.

“On the two-year anniversary of the Tucson tragedy, it is more clear than ever that improving the laws that make treatment possible before tragedies occur needs to be a national priority,” said Doris A. Fuller, Treatment Advocacy Center executive director. “Our mental health system has completely abandoned people with the most serious mental illnesses, their families and communities. Until their needs are addressed, tragedy is predictable.”

Read our two-page “Mental Health Policy Reforms to Reduce Mass Shootings” to the working group on gun violence.

The Treatment Advocacy Center is the only national nonprofit dedicated to eliminating legal and other barriers to treatment for people with severe mental illness. The organization does not accept funding from companies or entities involved in the sale, marketing or distribution of pharmaceutical products.

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Jamie Mondics
Treatment Advocacy Center
215.439.8512
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Doris A. Fuller
Treatment Advocacy Center
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