Letters to the Editor

July 16, 2014

Don't fault families of mentally ill

Re "More officer training key for mentally ill" (Editorials, July 15) and "Families must step up and care for mentally ill" (Viewpoints, July 15): Bruce Maiman should not fault families. Like the frantic parents of the Isla Vista shooter, most families of the severely mentally ill try frantically to get help, to no avail. Families have no legal control once their loved ones turn 18 and no practical control ever.

Police training will accomplish little, but good programs can avert crises before they happen, thus minimizing police involvement. Counties should create crisis intervention units that make health professionals into first responders and adopt Laura's Law, which is assisted outpatient treatment for those who refuse treatment because they are too sick to know they need help.

California should junk the antiquated law that replaced the state hospitals with chaos for a modern model that actually helps people. Everyone should support HR 3717, currently pending in Congress, which encourages these reforms. Congresswoman Doris Matsui has been unhelpful. Let her know she is wrong.

-- Mary Ann Bernard, Sacramento

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