Smart Talk: Does involuntary commitment for treatment help?

A new state law makes it easier to commit someone with a mental illness

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A new state law makes it easier to commit someone with a mental illness to get treatment through a process called “assisted outpatient treatment.” The law, called Act 106, takes effect in April.

Its supporters say it will help people who have serious illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. They say similar laws have proven successful in other states.

However, some long-time mental health sector workers say the law has some flaws.

On one side are those who worry the law may go too far, compromising a person’s civil rights and turning people away from mental health services in the future.

There are also those who say the law doesn’t go far enough — that it lacks key provisions to make sure someone follows the treatment program. Funding woes add to their concerns that counties will be ill-equipped to succeed with this law.

As part of Transforming Health‘s series on mental health issues in Pennsylvania, called Through the Cracks, reporter Brett Sholtis joins us on Friday’s Smart Talk to discuss.

Key points: 

1:37 – History of institutionalization

9:33 – Jail is not the place for people with mental illness

20:00 – Quote, Sue Walker

27:55 – Phone call from listener


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