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Treatment Advocacy Center's Top 10 Mental Illness Stories You Didn't Read in 2007
Date:12/26/2007

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For every Seung Hui Cho, thousands with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder don't make headlines. More at http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org.

-- Mental health courts are a sign the mental health system has failed. To get to one of the nation's 150 mental health courts, you have to commit a crime. The courts are like wheelchairs for diabetics after limb amputation.

-- Requiring "dangerousness" is ... dangerous. "The requirement to prove dangerousness [before treatment] is both bad law and bad medicine," said Matthew Large, author of a new study. "It is bad law because dangerousness can not be accurately predicted and it is bad medicine because it delays treatment of first episode psychosis and as a result causes a poorer prognosis and a worse outcome for the patient and their family."

-- Housing isn't enough for some homeless. Giving a homeless person apartment keys is futile if they think you're an alien. "Housing First" ignores those who first need treatment. Minneapolis offered housing vouchers to 50 chronic homeless -- five accepted.

-- Violence and untreated schizophrenia are connected. Most mental health organizations deny the reality of violence. Yet schizophrenia patients are 10 times more likely to engage in violence than the general public.

-- Psychiatric beds are shifting from civil to criminal. Oregon's psychiatric hospitals dedicated 59% of their beds for forensic patients. Colorado requested $60 million to double correctional beds for mentally ill inmates.

-- Medical professionals sometimes opt for neglect over treatment. Too often, front-line providers fail to get extremely sick people into treatment.

-- Cops are expensive mental health workers. Deputies in Putnam County, Tenn. did 478 mental health transports last year. Each takes two deputies for at least five hours.

-- Assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) programs make a difference. Seminole County, Fla.'s AOT program resulted in a 72 percent decrease in jail days -- saving more than $15,000 per patient.

-- It is insane to release a killer without requiring treatment compliance. Twelve years after killing Ottawa sportscaster Brian Smith, the released perpetrator (with untreated schizophrenia) assaulted a cop. Why not try "Brian's Law" for Brian's killer?

-- We still protect the right to be psychotic over the right to treatment. Pennsylvania law kept Kenneth Miller from treatment until he killed his dad, one twisted result of protecting the right to self-determination in mental illness treatment above all else.

The Treatment Advocacy Center (http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illnesses.

We take no money from pharmaceutical companies. The American Psychiatric Association awarded TAC its 2006 presidential commendation for "sustained extraordinary advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable mentally ill patients."


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SOURCE Treatment Advocacy Center
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