Laura's Law empowers families of mentally ill

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 - 7:10 am

Re "Recovery, With a Question Mark" (Forum, Dan Morain, Dec. 29): Kudos to Editorial Page Editor Dan Morain for exposing weaknesses in our state's mental health care system. Morain is right to advocate for adoption of Laura's Law, which provides assisted outpatient treatment to the seriously mentally Ill with a history of lack of adherence to treatment. One of the life-saving - and cost-saving - aspects of Laura's Law is that it allows family members who fear for the safety of their mentally ill loved one to call county mental health and request an assessment of that person's condition. That means no 911 calls or frantic visits to ER to beg for help. In Nevada County, where the law was first adopted, the vast majority of people who qualified for assessment voluntarily agreed to mental health treatment plans with no court intervention. Often, simple contact with a trained professional in a nonconfrontational setting sets recovery in motion.

-- Pamela Martineau, Davis

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