Sunday, February 24, 2013

4 New Laura's Law/MHSA Bills Could Help Mentally Ill in California

Bills Clarify MHSA Funds Can Be Used For Laura's Law and Make Other Improvements

Following is our preliminary analysis of the four California bills introduced 2/22/13
SB 585 (Steinberg/Correa) clarifies Mental Health Services Act (MHSA/ Prop 63) funds may be used by counties to implement Laura's Law
SB 664 (Yee/ Wolk) states counties may implement Laura's Law without first forcing County Boards of Supervisors to undertake a special vote or represent that they they will treat everyone else in the county before they treat those who need Laura's Law. (Unfortunately it allows counties to limit the number of individuals in Laura's Law.) 
AB1265 (Conway along with Achadjian/Beth Gaines/Gorel/ Hagman/Harkey/ Morrell) allows individuals under Laura's Law to receive treatment for up to one year (instead of the six month max previously allowed). It would also, smartly, require facilities discharging involuntarily committed patients first evaluate them to see if they could benefit from Laura's Law. They would then notify county officials so they can file a Laura's Law petition. 
AB 1367 (Mansoor along with Achadjian/ Alle/ Conway/Beth Gaines/Gorel/ Hagma/ Harkey/ Morrell). Like SB 585 (but using different language ) it clarifies that MHSA funds may be used to implement Laura's Law. It also makes changes (not necessarily improvements) to Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) funds.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ed Koch, Billie Boggs, and Mental Illness

In the 1980s, when Ed Koch was mayor, the streets of New York were full of homeless psychotic mentally individuals who had been abandoned by the mental health system. This was before Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided to implement his "three strikes and you're out" laws to incarcerate the mentally ill for loitering, urinating, sleeping and other things the mentally were forced to do in the streets.  

Ed Koch recognized that sleeping on the streets when temperatures were below freezing was a 'danger to self'. So he had outreach workers try to get the homeless mentally ill who were about to freeze into shelters where they wouldn't. But some people who are psychotic don't understand their need for treatment.  

The first homeless psychotic mentally ill person he tried to help who didn't recognize she was ill was Billie Boggs (Joyce Brown).