ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA (PRWEB) December 11, 2013
In the year following the Dec. 14 mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, legislatures in nearly a dozen states showed newfound resolve to reform the public policies that leave their most severely ill residents without the care they need to begin recovering.
Nearly a dozen state legislatures passed or improved their laws that determine who receives court-ordered treatment for symptoms of severe mental illness in a hospital and/or the community. The Treatment Advocacy Center said states making civil commitment reforms in 2013 included:
“Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy to tip the balance toward making court-ordered treatment more widely available,” said Doris A. Fuller, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. “Some of the bills that passed in 2013 have been under consideration in one form or another for years. What changed with Sandy Hook was that the public demand and official will for them to pass grew.”
Despite the progress in 2013, the Treatment Advocacy Center said the system for providing timely and effective treatment to individuals too ill to seek help remains in tatters.
“Mass killings are merely the most newsworthy of a long list of terrible consequences that befall critically ill individuals and their families when we pursue policies that neglect those who need help the most,” Fuller said. “Removing legal and other barriers to treatment will pay dividends for people living with untreated severe mental illness and their communities. As long as these barriers remain, tragedies in all their many forms and magnitudes will continue to occur daily.”
ADVISORY: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) will hold a press briefing on proposed new federal legislation to improve mental illness treatment Thursday, 9:45 am, in the TV/Radio correspondents gallery - studio A, in the Capitol Visitors Center (HVC 117).
The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. The nonprofit promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The organization does not accept funding from the pharmaceutical industry. The American Psychiatric Association awarded the Treatment Advocacy Center its 2006 presidential commendation for "sustained extraordinary advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable mentally ill patients who lack the insight to seek and continue effective care and benefit from assisted outpatient treatment.”