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Thursday, June 23, 2016

How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System

by Norm Ornstein
The Atlantic
Originally published June 8, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

And, for people with the most serious diseases, who cannot recognize they are ill or who have deep psychoses that leave them detached from much of reality, we need to recalibrate the balance between civil liberties and the need to provide real treatment—the kind of wraparound, assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) that Leifman has pioneered in Florida—while making it easier, with appropriate safeguards, for family members to intervene to help their loved ones.

In Washington, the good news is that reforming the system to deal with mental illness is one of the few areas where there is serious bipartisan cooperation and action—including, in the Senate, Democrats like Debbie Stabenow, Chris Murphy, and Al Franken, and Republicans like Roy Blunt, Bill Cassidy, and John Cornyn. In the House, there’s a major bill cosponsored by Republican Tim Murphy, the body’s only psychologist, and Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson, a former psychiatric nurse.

Of course, there is bad news—this is American politics in 2016. The highly dysfunctional Congress is stymied from action so far even in areas that have broad and deep bipartisan support, like  Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, the opioid crisis, and criminal-justice reform.

The article is here.