Dangerous Trend Toward Involuntary Commitment of People Who Are Not Dangerous

Pennsylvania has now joined 46 other states that have adopted laws allowing “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) of people who are mentally ill but not dangerous to themselves or others. Rather, the standard is whether the court finds that a person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision. We believe this standard is unconstitutionally vague. Further, while AOT is touted as being voluntary, the facts of how these cases are handled indicate otherwise. Certainly, that was true in Andrew’s case. See our blog post at http://andrewsvoice.org/involuntary-outpatient-commitment-whats-the-big-deal/

Kudos to Mental Health America @mhasheb https://www.mhasheboygan.org/for opposing this law and for articulating the very real dangers it poses to civil liberty:

People who are “coerced” into mental health treatment risk becoming alienated from support services, said Sue Walther, who heads the Mental Health Association of Pennsylvania.

“There are lots of studies that show this, about coercion, how forcing someone into a system they don’t want to be part of negatively impacts their willingness to go into it in the future,” Walther said.

The Mental Health Association was one of several mental health groups in Pennsylvania that opposed the passage of the law last fall.

Walther said the criteria for committing someone are too vague.

#MHA #mentalhealth #stopthemadness #VOICE

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