Friday, August 22, 2014

About Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is for a very small group of the most seriously mentally ill who already accumulated multiple incidents of hospitalization arrest or incarceration associated with their failing to stay in voluntary treatment. AOT allows judges, after full due process to require certain mentally ill to accept six months of mandated and monitored treatment as a condition for living in the community. It provides an off ramp before incarceration. As Linda Dunn said, Assisted Outpatient Treatment is like putting a fence by the edge of the cliff rather than an ambulance at the bottom. (Barnidge 2014)

The research on AOT is extensive and positive. (Mental Illness Policy Org 2013). Six months of mandated and monitored treatment has been shown to reduce homelessness 74%; hospitalization 77%; arrest 83%; incarceration 87%, physical harm to others 47%; property destruction 46%; suicide attempts 55%; and substance abuse (48%). By replacing expensive incarceration and hospitalization with less expensive community care Assisted Outpatient Treatment cuts costs to taxpayers in half. (Swanson, et al. 2013). AOT also reduces victimization. (V.A. Hiday 2002). These results are particularly outstanding because AOT is limited to the most seriously ill, often a very hard to treat population.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Report: California Mental Health Services Act Fails Seriously Mentally Ill

California Mental Health Services Act Oversight Commissioners (MHSOAC) just issued a press release saying Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) programs (20% of total MHSA Funds) are working.

However, they didn't even study adults with serious mental illness.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NAMI/National less than honest with members

Call 202 224 3121 or go here and urge your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor HR 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

NAMI State and local chapters do brilliant work trying to improve care for people with the most serious mental illnesses and provide comfort to them and their families. NAMI/National is ignoring the most seriously ill in order to be politically correct.
Representative Tim Murphy (R. PA) has proposed HR3717 the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis” that does much of what NAMI local and state members have been begging for.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


A bill in Congress (HR3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act) would change SAMHSA and some wonder why change is needed. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) was created by Congress to “reduce the impact of…mental illness on America’s communities” and “target … mental health services to the people most in need”. SAMHSA has failed to do either. SAMHSA refuses to require its funds reach the most seriously ill and enacts policies to see they don't.

SAMHSA largely ignores the most significant impacts of mental illness on the communities, specifically violence, incarceration, hospitalization, homlessness and suicide. Instead, SAMHSA focuses on improving metrics like 'feeling of empowerment' 'hopefullness' and other softer outcomes.