90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Conn. Debates Mandatory Outpatient Treatment For Mentally Ill

(e-MagineArt.com/Flickr)

(e-MagineArt.com/Flickr)

A special task force in Connecticut is holding a public hearing today on mental health issues and guns.

It is not known if Newtown shooter Adam Lanza had any diagnosed mental illness, but a family friend has said Lanza’s mother was in the process of having her son committed to a psychiatric hospital just before he went on his shooting spree.

Connecticut lawmakers are now debating whether to join most other states in passing what’s called “outpatient commitment,” which would mandate court-ordered treatment for people with serious mental illness who are not in the hospital.

It’s outraged some mental health advocates, who say people with mental illness should make their own decisions. Here’s an excerpt from an opinion piece in the Hartford Courant by Janet Van Tassel, head of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project:

“Because a forced medication or treatment law would restrict the fundamental civil rights of people with mental illness, there are questions about whether it would violate Connecticut’s constitutional protections for these individuals. Certainly, it would require an enforcement system and court proceedings comparable to those used in New York, which cost more than $32 million per year. Consequently, it would be very costly, and use money that would be better spent on community services.”

The measure is being applauded by others who say they desperately need the help for their loved ones who don’t know they’re seriously ill. The Treatment Advocacy Center argues on its website in favor of outpatient commitment, also called assisted outpatient treatment (AOT):

“Studies and data from states using AOT prove that it is effective in reducing the incidence and duration of hospitalization, homelessness, arrests and incarcerations, victimization, and violent episodes. AOT also increases treatment compliance and promotes long-term voluntary compliance, while reducing caregiver stress. The six states that do not have AOT are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada, and Tennessee.”

Guests:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

We now have a digital bookshelf! Explore all our books coverage or browse by genre.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

January 27 22 Comments

Nun Hopes For More Gender Equality In The Church

Sister Joan Chittister describes how the Vatican's tone toward nuns has changed and shares her hopes for the Catholic church.

January 26 3 Comments

Limitations Of Winter Freeze Inspire Maine Chef

The food at Vinland in downtown Portland is 100 percent locally sourced, even in the dead of winter.

January 26 Comment

Mayors Examine Community Policing

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has new recommendations on community policing, in the wake of Ferguson.

January 23 4 Comments

How ‘The Good War’ In Afghanistan Went Bad

Jack Fairweather's new book argues the war could turn out to be the defining tragedy of the 21st century.