Why it’s so hard to get mentally ill Californians into treatment

CPR: (CALMATTERS.org) — For years, Diane Shinstock watched her adult son deteriorate on the streets.  Suffering from severe schizophrenia, he slept under stairwells and bushes, screamed at passersby and was arrested for throwing rocks at cars.

Sometimes he refused the housing options he was offered. Sometimes he got kicked out of places for bad behavior.  Shinstock, who lives in Roseville and works on disability issues for the state of California, begged mental health officials to place him under conservatorship—essentially, depriving him of his personal liberty because he was so sick that he couldn’t provide for his most basic personal needs of food, clothing and shelter.

But county officials told her, she said, that under state law, her son could not be conserved; because he chose to live on the streets, he did not fit the criteria for “gravely disabled.”

“I was devastated,” she said. “I cried for days.”

So Shinstock—along with her husband Joe, a policy consultant who works for Republican leadership in the Assembly—set out to change state law. Their uphill battle illustrates the complex philosophical, legal and ethical questions that surround conservatorship in California.

What responsibility does government have to protect people with serious mental illnesses who refuse treatment?  How should it balance the right to liberty with the need for care?

At the heart of the long effort to answer these questions is a law signed in 1967 by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. Aimed at safeguarding the civil rights of one of society’s most vulnerable populations, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act put an end to the inappropriate and often indefinite institutionalization of people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

It also provided them with legal protections, such as the now-familiar rules in California limiting involuntary holds on people deemed a danger to themselves or others to 72 hours, better known as a 5150 hold.  more here

15 Comments on Why it’s so hard to get mentally ill Californians into treatment

  1. Mentally “Ill”?!? What H8R calls them THAT?
    They have a different – but equally valid – Mental State: The State of Democrats!

  2. A week ago a homeless guy in a park in the Peoples’ Republic of Santa Monica, a place I call home, slashed someone in the face with a broken piece of metal. The homeless guy was arrested, but they didn’t charge him and he’s back on the street. In fact a friend reported yesterday on Facebook that she walked past him.
    They have nothing to lose when they attack people. And yet the hand-wringing bleeding-heart libs say we can’t do anything about it.

  3. The state wants to control normal working people. Take away their guns, tax them and tax them and tax them (ie California has a .41 cent tax on every gallon of gas, and that’s on top of the federal tax).

    Brainwash the children, another important function of the state.

    Mental and violent people roaming the streets keeps the normals afraid, another state goal.

    You have more than you know

  4. A good start to helping the mentally ill would be to put bars on the doors and windows of the California Capitol building and just incarcerate the loony state politicians as mentally defective. Then maybe we can put grown-ups in charge instead of spouting this phony-baloney compassion mantra while the leftists line their own pockets.

  5. Several years ago a homeless man dies of exposure on the streets of Vancouver B.C. Aid car crews had tried several times throughout the evening to get him into a shelter. However, they could not make him go if he did not want to go.

    After the man died, the homeless “advocates” were clamoring for more money for homeless shelters so that type of incident would not happen again.

    Yeah, right.

  6. Anyone that lived in the Tampa Bay area
    in the 80’s knows the horrific case of
    Billy Ferry.For years the locals begged
    the police to do something about Billy
    yelling about burning and killing people.
    Then one day at the Winn Dixie. Google the rest.

  7. Ron did the right thing ! 45 years ago I was a hospital CFO (would be for years at different hospitals) It was common practice for shrinks and hospitals needing $ to lock folk up in the Psych ward, shoot them full of dope and bill the state Midi-Cal. they were prisoners without the right of Habeas corpus!

    Enticed by a big pay raise 2 years later I would be CFO of 1 such hospital; I left in less than 6 months; we were law breakers. Profitable as long as no one took us to court; which did happen.

    I am not a shrink – but I was told, and I believe, that many put in the psych ward and doped up were not “crazy”!


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