jcastello15 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Member since Jun 26, 2008



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Re: “Live Free and Die

This sad, preventable tragedy is yet another reminder of why our Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976 in Pennsylvania, which makes it almost impossible to obtain help for someone who desperately needs it, has to be changed.

State Senator Greenleaf's proposed Senate Bill 226 would have required Nang "Ricky" Nguyen to remain in court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment in the community and would have assigned a mental health provider to be responsible to follow-up with his treatment, including medications, when he was released from the hospital. It certainly wasn't the fault of his caring friend who tried to get him help, and it is true that the mental health community was just following the rules of the law which requires "clear and present danger to self or others" before they are required to provide treatment. The fault is with our outdated mental health treatment law.

We need to urge our legislators to move forward with passing SB 226, which currently resides in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, which is chaired by State Senator Erickson.

For additional information on the advocacy effort to change our treatment laws, go to the Treatment Advocacy Center's Pennsylvania State Activity web site: http://www.psychlaws.org/StateActivity/pennsylvania.htm

To better understand why we face the limitations of providing timely treatment for those with severe mental illnesses, read E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.'s latest book, The Insanity Offense.

Jeanette Castello
Co-Chair PA Treatment Law Advocacy Coalition
Newtown, PA

Posted by jcastello15 on 06/26/2008 at 8:11 AM

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