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D. J. Jaffe
Time to Strengthen Kendra’s Law « Back to Story

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Okay, it is June, 2012...The Kendra's Law
improvement Act is close. Every voice needs to be heard. Make noise...call your
Assembly person, write the paper(even if it is not printed) the powers to be need to know all sides of the story. I personally know people who have benefitted
and people should not be assumptions based on their own possible bad experience. I have the most reason to be angry from 40 years ago...However, working as an advocate
and gathering information, talking with all...I know a great deal of the true workings of the system. Marsha Mann/Buffalo, NY
A lot of these comments are based on a false premise: That Kendra's LAw allows forced medication. It does not. Medication over objection ("forced (sic) treatment") can only be done in NYS after a "Rivers Hearing". Kendra's Law does not supercede the need to have a "Rivers Hearing". The idea that Kendra's Law allows 'Forced" treatment is one of the many myths spread by NYAPRS and other OMH-funded anti-treatment consumertocracy organizations. But it is not true.To learn about more of the myths go to http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/myths/myths.html
AOT is not written to force anyone into the
hospital. It is to help the "sickest people"
receive services as appropriate. It also helps treatment agencies to not "choose
easy customers."

I know our local system well, having lived it
and seen it fail way too many people. It is
a win-win law. All rights are protected.
How can a conservative thinktank sponsor the idea of forced hospitalization? I thought one of the primary beliefs of the conservative movement was personal responsibility and less government. Forced hospitalization is the antithesis of both personal responsibility and less government.
why is OMH commissioner Michael Hogan still working?
Catherine Creel May 29, 2011 at 6:43 PM
Forcing drugs that have more drawbacks than benefits is not the answer. Article after article appears showing how these drugs have been misrepresented by the makers of them. Anyone who works in mental heath has seen people worsening by the year, never improving. The more drugs that are pumped into people, the worse people become. The problem is that the mental health system is unwilling to explore alternatives to these almost useless drugs. Medicare and Medicaid would rather pay for drugs than therapy. In other countries where drugs are less accessible, people with schizophrenia function at a higher level and violence amongst these people is virtually non-existent. People go off the deep end and become violently assaultive most of the time due not to discontinuing psychotropical drugs but due to discontinuing psychotropical drugs too quickly. If this isn't done in a controlled manner over a period of a year or longer, crisis will ensue and can involve acts of violence. There are small groups throughout the country successfully working with people labeled as having "mental illness" using a non-pharmaceutical approach. In some instances this has been going on for over 20 years. I recall a time when one of these people wanted to share what she was doing so successfully with psychiatrists. She contacted 112 of them (within a 200 mi. radius) over time and invited them all visit at their convenience and see what was being done. This was accompanied by a well-written explanation of what was being done with people. Not one of these physicians responded despite 30+ of of them having treated some of the participants and being directly invited by these participants. When egos are that fragile, nobody wins.
I applaud Aillen Gunther for her"kendra's Law
Inprovement Act" The large number of patients who are not receiving care frrom AOT is not
acceptable. The patients need to be tracked by
OMH and not"lost" in transition. Talk to a parent who has a son or daughter treated by AOT.
Their lives have improved.
I am getting a little bit suspicious when reading an article on forced psychiatric treatment. Tons of paper were used to document cases of abuse of psychiatry, especially in countries of former Soviet Union and its satellites, but also in other regimes. You do not have to go very far, just have a look what is going on in the UK due to the relatively new Mental Health Act. Person, who has been hospitalized by the MHA, is no longer legally able to make decisions about himself/herself; and can easily become subject to abuse. I have a personal experience with an attempt for psychiatric hospitallization following simple uncomplicated collapse (fainting). On this occassion, I was taken to a private hospital (not A&E); I received a wrist band with incorrect date of birth (over 70 yrs old - I was then 34) and a spelling error in my name despite showing my passport (!). The staff refused to use my NHS number, and refused to contact my next of kin. When I recovered from my fainting spell, I managed to get record of that visit and leave, but it took quite a bit of loud reasoning. I can only guess what on Earth this meant and how common this type of abuse of MHA in the UK is.
Since this was written, an untreated mentally ill man in Syracuse pulled a (fake) gun on police and was killed by them; a new report from Columbia University showed Kendra's Law decreases the risk of arrest by 8.6 times; the Alliance on Mental Illness of NYS unanimously endorsed the law; and the bill (A6987) has only 33 cosponsors in the Assembly.
Please call 518 455 4218 and ask to be connected to your NYS assembly member (they will tell you who it is, you don't have to know before calling). Tell the staff member who answers that you are a "constitutent" and want them to "co-sponsor A 6987", to help people with mental illness.
DJ Jaffe
http://mentalillnesspolicy.org