Mental health care reform is long overdue

Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 - 7:10 am

Re “Lessons about mental health care from Sandy Hook” (Viewpoints, Dec. 14): Dr. Gary Tsai identifies a problem of enormous importance to many mental health treatment professionals, families, consumers and other advocates. The current standards for treatment based on how much an individual poses a danger or has a grave disability are inadequate and only allow treatment after a tragedy has occurred. He also identifies the solution, which is to craft a modern need-for-treatment standard that allows early intervention and speeds, instead of impedes, recovery from mental illness. Rep. Tim Murphy recently introduced the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act in Congress to address these and other issues. A measure like this is long overdue. In fact, since our treatments standards were developed in 1967, it is 46 years overdue. The pubic, state and local public officials and members of Congress need to embrace these reforms. -- Randall Hagar, Sacramento, director of government affairs, California Psychiatric Association

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