State law hurts mentally ill and their families

Published: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 - 4:10 pm

Re "Mental health lessons from Sandy Hook" (Viewpoints, Gary Tsai, Dec. 14): California law makes it impossible to hospitalize mentally ill loved ones who can survive "with help from willing family and friends." Dr. Gary Tsai did not advise the family who took their hallucinating child home because they could not get help to throw their child onto the streets, but many families are told precisely that. Thus, an antiquated law intended to force families to care for the insane when there were no other good alternatives has broken families apart and forced sick people into the streets. Often they get no help there until they become violent and it's too late. Fortunately, Rep. Tim Murphy has proposed national legislation to push states to adopt a need-for-treatment standard for care of the mentally ill. This bill deserves support. It would save lives of the mentally ill and the public alike.

-- Mary Ann Bernard , Sacramento

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